Disney Creates New Content Distribution Unit, Reorganizes Its Media, Entertainment Business

The rapid growth of direct-to-consumer video businesses -- for Disney+, as well as Hulu and ESPN+ -- has prompted Walt Disney to usher in a major reorganization when it comes to distribution of entertainment/sports content.

Bob Chapek, chief executive officer of Walt Disney, said on CNBC with regard to the performance of premium streaming businesses: “In every territory, for every platform, our expectations have been exceeded, and exceeded every month.” He did not go into financial details.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rate of Disney’s transition to more premium video streaming.

Chapek says: “It was going to happen anyway... We wanted to separate out those who make our wonderful content from the decision making in how it gets commercialized,” indicating that the move is intended to separate Disney's content creation from its content distribution.

The new Media and Entertainment Distribution business will be run by 14-year Disney veteran Kareem Daniel, as its chairman. Previously Daniel had been president of consumer products, games and publishing of Disney. He will report to Chapek.

The unit will be responsible for all monetization of content — distribution revenues and advertising sales — and will oversee operations of Disney’s streaming businesses.

Content units -- theatrical film studios, general entertainment (entertainment TV networks) and sports (TV networks -- will continue to be run by the same executives -- and report to Chapek.

Alan Horn and Alan Bergman will be chairmen, Studios Content, while Peter Rice will be chairman of General Entertainment Content, and James Pitaro will be chairman, ESPN and Sports Content.

Disney’s stock rose 4% in after-market trading on Monday.

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