Disney Just Streamlined Significant Portions of Their Operation
By Cooper Dowd, Staff Writer
Due to the pandemic’s effect on entertainment in 2020, the Walt Disney Company announced a broad streamlining of its direct-to-consumer strategy and reorganizing its media business.
One of the central goals will be to create and produce original streaming content for Disney+ and legacy platforms such as Hulu and ESPN Plus. Both production and distribution will now be under a singular unit called Media and Entertainment Distribution. Former President of Consumer Products, Games and Publishing Kareem Daniel will lead the entities operations.
“I’m honored to be able to lead this new organization during such a pivotal and exciting time for our company, and I’m grateful to Bob for giving me the opportunity,” Daniel said. “It’s a tremendous privilege to work with the talented and dedicated teams that will comprise this group, and I look forward to a close collaboration with the outstanding and incredibly successful team of creative content leaders at the company, as together we build on the success we’ve already achieved in our DTC and legacy distribution business.”
The transition comes just before the one-year anniversary of Disney launching its streaming service. Since then, the streaming service has gained over 60 million subscribers.
“Given the incredible success of Disney+ and our plans to accelerate our direct-to-consumer business, we are strategically positioning our company to more effectively support our growth strategy and increase shareholder value,” CEO Bob Chapek said. “Managing content creation distinct from distribution will allow us to be more effective and nimble in making the content consumers want most, delivered in the way they prefer to consume it.
“Our creative teams will concentrate on what they do best—making world-class, franchise-based content—while our newly centralized global distribution team will focus on delivering and monetizing that content in the most optimal way across all platforms, including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and the coming Star international streaming service,” Chapek added.
While Chapek said COVID-19 is not the reason for the move, he confirmed on CNBC that the entertainment industry’s turbulent 2020 accelerated the change. Moreover, Chapek noted that the number of layoffs in the media unit due to the restructuring would be fewer than those in the parks unit, which laid off 28,000 employees due to the pandemic.
While many entertainment companies are struggling to profit, Disney has been hit incredibly hard due to their involvement in theme parks, travel, theatrical moviegoing, TV advertising, live sports, and other longtime income sources.
The three sections responsible for rolling out new content are Studios, General Entertainment and Sports, still under the supervision of Alan F. Horn and Alan Bergman, Peter Rice, and James Pitaro.
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