As part of the ongoing realignment of Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international segment, the company is rolling media sales and channel distribution into a single DTCI operation, with former ESPN exec Justin Connolly (pictured) at the helm.
Connolly’s promotion from EVP of affiliate sales and marketing, to president of media distribution for Disney, means he will also take on the responsibilities of outgoing president of global content sales and distribution, Janice Marinelli. Marinelli, who took the DTCI role last year, is set to leave the House of Mouse at the end of this month after a 34-year career at the company. Prior to her departure, she’s been helping the team through Disney’s post-acquisition integration of 21st Century Fox.
In his new position, Connolly will continue to lead Disney’s North American distribution, affiliate marketing and affiliate-related business operations for all Disney and ESPN services, including Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild.
His added tasks include working closely with DTCI’s international content sales teams who now report directly to their respective regional leaders—Rebecca Campbell (EMEA), Diego Lerner (LatAm) and Uday Shankar (APAC). The new DTCI team was unveiled last December as part of Disney’s integration of Fox. Prior to the announcement, Walt Disney International’s SVP of media distribution Mark Endemaño stepped down, as his role was role was subsequently eliminated amid Disney’s distribution re-org.
Additionally, Connolly will have final say on all content sales deals for brands including Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox Film, Fox Animation, Disneynature, ABC Studios, ABC Entertainment, National Geographic, FX Productions, 20th Century Fox Television, WABC, Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior.
He will also oversee worldwide app distribution for Disney’s DTC streaming services, including the upcoming Disney+ platform, ESPN+ and Movies Anywhere. Disney’s distribution of film and television programming via home entertainment, broadcasting and digital platforms, SVOD and pay networks will fall under Connolly’s remit, too.
He will be based in New York and report to Kevin Mayer, who leads DTCI stateside.