The Burbank entertainment and media giant will be reorganized to focus on developing and producing original content for its streaming services as well as for legacy platforms. Distribution and commercialization activities will be centralized into a new single, global Media and Entertainment Distribution organization.
Bob Chapek, the chief executive, said that given the success of the Disney+ streaming service and its plans to accelerate the direct-to-consumer business, the company is strategically positioning itself to more effectively support that growth strategy and increase shareholder value.
“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,” Chapek said in a statement.
Content creation will be divided into three groups – studios, headed by current leaders Alan F. Horn and Alan Bergman; general entertainment, overseen by Peter Rice; and sports, headed by James Pitaro.
Studios will focus on creating branded theatrical and episodic content based on Disney’s powerhouse franchises, including Marvel, Pixar and LucasFilm, for theatrical exhibition, Disney+ and the company’s other streaming services.
General entertainment will focus on creating general entertainment episodic and original long-form content for the company’s streaming platforms and its cable and broadcast networks.
Sports will focus on ESPN’s live sports programming, as well as sports news and original and non-scripted sports-related content, for the cable channels, ESPN+, and ABC.
The Media and Entertainment Distribution group, led by Kareem Daniel, will be responsible for the P&L management and all distribution, operations, sales, advertising, data and technology functions worldwide for all of the company’s content engines, and it will also manage operations of Disney’s streaming services and domestic television networks.
As the company looks to grow its direct-to-consumer business, a key focus will be delivering and monetizing content in the most optimal way possible and Daniel is best suited to lead that effort, Chapek said in his statement.
"His wealth of experience will enable him to effectively bring together the company’s distribution, advertising, marketing and sales functions, thereby creating a distribution powerhouse that will serve all of Disney’s media and entertainment businesses,” Chapek added.
The restructuring announcement was made after the market closed. Shares in Disney (DIS) closed down 1 cent, or a fraction of one percent, to $124.97 on the New York Stock Exchange, on a day when they major markets closed up between 0.9 percent and 2.6 percent.