Disney has named Aaron LaBerge executive vice president and CTO of its Direct-To-Consumer and International business unit, putting him in charge of the technology that will deliver the company’s content to consumer devices.
LaBerge had been CTO at ESPN, where he helped Shepard the launch of ESPN+, the company’s first major direct-to-consumer streaming service.
The appointment comes as ESPN+ continues to add new content to its service.
While ESPN+ was Disney’s first real foray into DTC offerings, the company is planning a major Disney-branded service for late 2019.
The company this week signed an 11-year deal with PGA of America and CBS Sports for rights to the PGA Championship, starting in 2020. While CBS will continue to broadcast the third and final rounds of the Championship (it first broadcast the event 60 years ago), the first and second rounds will be available on ESPN and ESPN+.
ESPN+ will also have exclusive programming and video throughout the entire tournament.
ESPN+ now has more than 1 million subscribers. Executives at the company have been trying to identify unique opportunities to bring more live sports to the service that could serve core niches. College sports, golfs and combat sports are three of the more high-profile examples.