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Disney Reorganizes The Company to Focus on Streaming

Jason Gurwin

Disney reorganized their leadership with a focus on streaming. Now all original content for their streaming platforms will come from three groups: studios, general entertainment, and sports.

By simplifying the structure, the company is trying to help make it easier to make content and distribution decisions across theatrical, TV, and streaming.

In the studios group, Alan Horn and Alan Bregman will oversee the creation of theatrical and episodic content from Disney-owned brands like Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Walk Disney Studios not only for TV and theaters, but all for their direct-to-consumer businesses like Disney+.

Peter Rice will chair the General Entertainment team with a focus on episodic and long-form content for ABC and their entertainment-focused cable channel – as well as their streaming platforms like Hulu.

Sports content will still flow under Jimmy Pitaro at ESPN, who will continue to oversee content related to the cable channels, as well as ESPN+.

“Given the incredible success of Disney+ and our plans to accelerate our direct-to-consumer business, we are strategically positioning our Company to more effectively support our growth strategy and increase shareholder value,” Mr. Chapek said.

One major change is now all distribution will flow under nearly appointed Media & Distribution Chairman, Kareem Daniel, which includes the operations of the company’s streaming services. This means that Rebecca Campbell will now report to Daniel in her role leading direct-to-consumer operations for Disney+, Hulu+, and ESPN+.

Daniel’s team will be in charge of determining what goes to streaming, TV, and theaters – and when they will be released. The company last week announced that Pixar’s Soul will be going straight to Disney+ on Christmas Day.

“Managing content creation distinct from distribution will allow us to be more effective and nimble in making the content consumers want most, delivered in the way they prefer to consume it. Our creative teams will concentrate on what they do best—making world-class, franchise-based content—while our newly centralized global distribution team will focus on delivering and monetizing that content in the most optimal way across all platforms, including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and the coming Star international streaming service.”

Just last week, an activist investor in Disney is urged the companyto bypass it annual dividend and instead, invest that money into its streaming services.

He said, in addition to accelerating content, the company could differentiate themselves is by “collapsing all of Disney’s DTC services into the Disney+ application.” He continued, “Given that Disney+’s subscriber base is already meaningfully larger than any of your other DTC services, we believe Disney would benefit from a single customer acquisition vehicle led by Disney+.”

With some of the changes today, this could be the start of an acceleration of Disney’s streaming efforts.