LaBerge Named CTO For Disney DTC Unit

The Walt Disney Co.’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment has named Aaron LaBerge as its chief technology officer.

LaBerge, who had been executive VP and CTO of ESPN, will be a key part of Disney’s drive to create new digital media products and services, including its upcoming Disney branded subscription video service.

“As a champion of innovation and growth, Aaron will work across our segment and the larger Company to develop an industry-leading technology infrastructure to meet future demands,” said Kevin Mayer, chairman of the DTC unit. “Recognizing that the needs of our consumers and clients are constantly changing, He brings a wealth of skill and experience to lead an organization of talented and dedicated individuals in order to strategically respond to an increasingly complex media landscape.”

Within DTCI technology, there will be nine core teams – Business Platforms, Data Platforms, Information Security, Media Engineering, Media Services, Product Engineering, Product and Design, Technology Operations and Office of the CTO.

Among those reporting to LaBerge are Mike Andrews, senior VP, product engineering; Michael Cupo, VP, office of the CTO; John Heerdt, senior VP, media engineering; Chris Lawson, senior VP, technology operations and Mike Napodano, senior VP, business platforms.

LaBerge’s team will collaborate with Disney Streaming Services, which remains responsible for DTCI’s direct-to-consumer subscription streaming platforms.

LaBerge first joined Disney in 1997, through Disney’s acquisition of Starwave Ventures.

Before Starwave, LaBerge worked as a senior software engineer at Renaissance Interactive, an early Internet development and consulting firm, specializing in Internet-based publishing and content management systems.

From 2007 until his return to Disney in 2013, LaBerge was CEO of Fanzter Inc., a venture-funded consumer software and digital product development company he co-founded.

“The Walt Disney Company has an incredible history of using technology to create magic, and I am thrilled to help carry that legacy forward. We are in the most dynamic and exciting period in the history of media and entertainment, LaBerge said. “How we dream up, create and utilize technology to power content, unleash creativity and drive business matters more than ever. DTCI will play a critical role in the Walt Disney Company continuing to thrive and win in this dynamic environment.”

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.