Disney Reorganizes to Focus on DTC Platforms

(Image credit: The Walt Disney Co.)

With many of its businesses struggling because of the pandemic, The Walt Disney Co. became the latest media company to restructure its organization and focus its creative efforts on direct-to-consumer streaming platforms.

Bob Chapek, who became Disney’s CEO earlier this year, named Kareem Daniel, who had been president of consumer products, games and publishing at Disney, as head of the company’s new media and entertainment distribution group.

Also read: Disney Plus App Installs Spiked 68% Amid ‘Mulan’ Premiere

The distribution group will be responsible for all monetization of content -- both distribution and ad sales -- and will oversee operations of the company’s streaming services. It will also have profit and loss accountability for Disney’s media and entertainment business.

Daniel will report to Chapek, as will the heads of three units that create content. Those executives are Peter Rice, who is in charge of general entertainment; James Pitaro, head of sports, and Alan Horn and Alan Bergman, who together run the studios.

Rebecca Campbell will serve as chair, International Operations and Direct-to-Consumer. With the reorganization, the Direct-to-Consumer and International business will no longer be managed on a combined basis, the company said.. In Campbell’s role leading international operations, she will be responsible for coordinating and integrating activities across the various business units in each market to best represent the Company’s overall interests, and will report to Chapek. In her role leading direct-to-consumer operations for Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus, she will report to  Daniel.

Former CEO Bob Iger, in his role as executive chairman, will continue to direct the company’s creative endeavors.

“Given the incredible success of Disney Plus 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,” 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 Plus, Hulu, ESPN Plus and the coming Star international streaming service.”

Daniel has been with Disney four 14 years. Before being in charge of consumer products, he was president of the Walt Disney Imagineering Operations, product creation, publishing and games. He also served as senior VP of strategy and business development for business development for Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media and VP of distribution strategy at Walt Disney Studios.

“Kareem is an exceptionally talented, innovative and forward-looking leader, with a strong track record for developing and implementing successful global content distribution and commercialization strategies,” said Chapek. “As we now look to rapidly grow our direct-to-consumer business, a key focus will be delivering and monetizing our great content in the most optimal way possible, and I can think of no one better suited to lead this effort than Kareem. 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.”

Disney will hold a virtual Investor Day on Dec. 10, where it will present further details of its direct-to-consumer strategies, the company said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.