Disney Announces Major Reorganization of Entertainment Divisions

With Disney+ in the spotlight, Disney revamps its business around streaming

The entertainment giant tapped longtime company executive Kareem Daniel to lead the Media and Entertainment group, which will manage operations of the streaming services and manage for profit and loss across content creation, including for movie productions, television shows and sports programming.

Disney announced today that it's restructuring its media and entertainment businesses to focus on its streaming services - one area that's now thriving as other parts of the Walt Disney Company grapple with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. "The new organizational structure, with content creation distinct from distribution, will enable us to be more effective and nimble in creating what consumers want most, and delivering it in the way they prefer to consume it", wrote Bob Chapek, Disney's chief executive officer, in an internal memo announcing the reorganization, seen by TechCrunch.

His purview will include distribution, operations, sales, advertising, data and technology for all of Disney's content engines, as well as managing operations of Disney's streaming services and the company's domestic television networks.

The company says its exceeded its own targets by drawing more than 100 million customers worldwide to Disney+, which was launched last November, as well as Hulu and ESPN. It will work closely with the content teams for programming, as well as marketing.

The news came from The Wrap as Bob Chapek announced a massive restructuring of the Walt Disney Company to put streaming at the center of everything they do. That's emphasised by the fact Disney has made a decision to shift its focus, no longer making films with the assumption they will receive a theatrical release; instead, they will go wherever the studio decides is the best fit for them. Covid-19 dealt a big blow to Disney's tourism-related businesses, prompting the company to slash 28,000 jobs at its theme-park, cruise-line and retail operations.

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"Kareem is an exceptionally talented, innovative and forward-looking leader, with a strong track record for developing and implementing successful global content distribution and commercialization strategies", said Mr. Chapek. Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal has restructured much of its content business with this goal in mind and AT&T's WarnerMedia is also centralizing its creative operations.

Disney is shaking up its content and streaming teams to focus more on Disney Plus, it said Monday. He added that as the company looks to grow its direct-to-consumer businesses, "delivering and monetizing our great content in the most optimal way possible" will be of critical importance.

The company will rearrange its media and entertainment divisions into a single organization responsible for content distribution, ad sales, and Disney Plus. Campbell will report directly to Chapek on all matters related to global operations but will report to Daniel when it comes to Disney, Hulu and ESPN. The investor has also called for Disney to redirect its dividend money toward streaming, but the company already suspended the payout in July and hasn't committed to future ones.

All the changes will go fully into effect during the first fiscal quarter of 2021, Disney said. Daniel has served at Disney for 14 years in a number of roles including president of Walt Disney Imagineering Operations.

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