The House of Mouse continues to shake up its executive ranks as it prepares to launch its new SVOD service next year by appointing film marketing president Ricky Strauss (pictured) to president of content and marketing for the upcoming direct-to-consumer platform.
Reporting to Walt Disney direct-to-consumer and international chairman Kevin Mayer, Strauss will be responsible for creating the strategic content vision for the service, and will oversee the development of its original programming slate, production partnerships and content acquisitions.
With creative oversight encompassing Disney’s portfolio of feature films, episodic series and short-form content, he will work in collaboration with content groups across Disney that are producing original content exclusively for the service, including The Walt Disney Studios, Disney-ABC Television Group, Disney Digital Media, Pixar Animation, Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm. He will also work closely with Disney’s third-party production partners.
The service’s current SVP of content Agnes Chu will maintain her position, but will now report to Strauss. As Strauss will be handling all content marketing for the service, president of Disney Streaming Services Michael Paull and his team will oversee product, technology, distribution, customer acquisition and lifecycle marketing.
Strauss most recently served as president of marketing for The Walt Disney Studios. Disney veteran Asad Ayaz has been tapped to replace Strauss in the role. Ayaz was previously Disney’s head of theatrical marketing.
During Strauss’s six years as marketing head, he oversaw the studio’s global marketing strategy for creative, media, digital, promotions, publicity, research and synergy across all distribution channels for features released under the Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm banners. Hit films delivered under his watch include Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Marvel’s The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Jungle Book, Frozen, Moana, Incredibles 2 and others.
He joined Disney in 2012 after seven years as president of Participant Media (The Help, Good Night, and Good Luck). He previously founded Ricochet Entertainment and also spent 16 years at Sony in a variety of senior executive roles.
His appointment follows a number of recent executive moves across the organization globally, including the departure of Disney International’s SVP of media distribution Mark Endemaño and the exit of Karen Miller, Disney Channels Worldwide’s VP of worldwide programming strategy, acquisitions and co-productions.
Endemaño’s role was subsequently eliminated with the revision of Disney’s media distribution business ahead of the company’s impending arrival of 21st Century Fox assets. Miller, meanwhile, jumped ship earlier this week for NBCUniversal kidsnet Universal Kids as its new SVP of content.