Ahead of the 2019 launch of its new SVOD service and the impending arrival of 21st Century Fox assets, Disney has reorganized its businesses to create a newly formed Direct-to-Consumer and International division, which will be led by former House of Mouse chief strategy officer Kevin Mayer.
In his new role, Mayer will helm Disney’s upcoming streamer and TV/film content across all global, multiplatform media, technology and distribution sects. He will also be in charge of Disney’s ownership stake in Hulu and the soon-to-be-launched ESPN+ streaming service.
The House of Mouse has also announced the formation of a combined Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products division, which will be led by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Bob Chapek. In this expanded role, Chapek will assume additional responsibility for all of Disney’s consumer products operations globally, including licensing and Disney stores. The newly merged segment will include the licensing of toys, apparel, home goods, digital games and apps, publishing and e-commerce platforms.
Disney’s yet-to-be-named SVOD will be the exclusive home for on-demand viewing of live-action and animated movies from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, as well as thousands of titles from Disney’s film and television library. It will also include a lineup of original and exclusive series and movies, including the recently announced live-action Star Wars series that Jon Favreau is on board to executive produce and write.
Headed by Michael Paull, New York-based Disney subsidiary BAMTECH is currently developing Disney’s SVOD and ESPN+ streaming platforms, and will now also house all consumer-facing tech and products under the Direct-to-Consumer and International segment. Global advertising for Disney’s media properties will also move from Media Networks to the new Direct-to-Consumer and International segment. All program-sales operations including global distribution of film and television content to Disney’s new SVOD, Hulu and other third-party platforms and channels, as well as Movies Anywhere, will also be under Mayer. As such, Rita Ferro, president of advertising sales at Disney|ABC Television Group, and Edward Erhardt, president of global sales and marketing at ESPN, will now report directly to Mayer. The unit will also be responsible for distributing direct-to-consumer services globally.
The company’s Studio Entertainment and Media Networks units will remain virtually the same, with Alan F. Horn remaining on as Studio chairman and James Pitaro co-chairing Disney Media Networks with Ben Sherwood. (Pitaro was formerly chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media.)
Despite the changes taking effect immediately, financial reporting under the new structure will begin in fiscal 2019.