Disney Puts Creatives Back in Charge of Content Decisions; How Will This Impact Company’s Streaming Strategy?
The last remnants of Bob Chapek’s leadership regime at Disney are being swept away. Current Disney CEO Bob Iger has restructured the company, eliminating Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, which had the final say on content decisions during Chapek’s tenure as company chief.
The restructure means that Disney will now be split into three segments: Entertainment (which will include all streaming content not on ESPN+, ESPN and Parks, and Experiences and Products. Dana Walden and Alan Bregman will head up the entertainment division, and will now be responsible for the company’s streaming content on Disney+ and Hulu going forward.
“I’ve always believed that the best way to spur great creativity is to make sure that people who are managing the creative processes feel empowered,” Iger said in the company’s quarterly earnings call on Wednesday. “Therefore, our new structure is aimed at returning greater authority to our creative leaders and making them accountable for how their content performs financially.”
The restructuring is designed to let executives do what they do best. Content creators will be responsible for making content instead of accountants, and Walden especially has been responsible for big hits in the past, including popular Hulu shows like “Dopesick,” “The Kardashians” and “Only Murders in the Building.”
The reorganization may mean that Walden and Bregman won’t have direct control over what happens to Hulu. Since the two are creative executives, their purview may not include business decisions like whether Disney will buy the 33% of Hulu it does not currently own from Comcast, or whether the company will sell its majority stake in the streamer to another company. Iger confirmed this week that when it comes to Hulu, all options are on the table.
Bregman and Walden will have to take Disney’s new streaming strategy into account when making content decisions, however. The company is less interested in piling up subscribers than it is in making its streaming arm profitable these days, reflecting an industry-wide pivot toward profitability for streaming. Being financially responsible for how content performs puts pressure on these two executives to deliver hits, but Disney’s confidence in their ability to do so is why they were tapped in the first place.
Creative control of two of the most popular franchises in media is now firmly in Walden and Bregman’s hands. Disney owns both the Star Wars and Marvel IPs, and Iger indicated in the earnings call on Wednesday that Disney was looking to lean more heavily into those franchises for content in the future. The Disney Entertainment co-chairs will be tasked with developing more series in the Marvel and Star Wars universes, while hopefully avoiding the heavy-handed fan service that has plagued some series from those franchises in the past.
The future of streaming at Disney is still in a highly transitional phase, with lots of questions still to be answered. One issue has been settled, however; creative decisions for streaming content will now be in the hands of creative executives.
Disney+ is a video streaming service with over 13,000 series and films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, The Muppets, and more. It is available in 61 countries and 21 languages. It is notable for its popular original series like “The Mandalorian,” “Ms. Marvel,” “Loki,” “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” and “Andor.”
Disney+ has two plans – one with ads and one without ads. Disney+ Basic with Ads costs $7.99 / month. If you don’t want ads, you can choose Disney+ Premium with No Ads which costs $10.99 / month.
The Premium plan also offers an annual option for $109.99 / year ($9.17/mo.).
If you want all of Disney streaming services, they have two options for The Disney Bundle. The Disney Bundle Basic includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ (with Ads) for $7.99 / month. The Disney Bundle Premium (without Ads) for $19.99 / month.
The app supports unlimited downloads (on their Premium Plans), four simultaneous streamers, up to 7 profiles, 4K streaming, and includes hundreds of avatars.
The service includes 25+ original series, 10+ original movies, 7,500 past episodes, 100 recent movies, and 400 library titles including the entire Disney Vault.
You can see the full list of available Disney, Disney Channel, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, Nat Geo shows and movies, or all available Disney+ content by checking out our Disney+ Streaming Movie List.