Ahead of SVOD launches, Disney consolidates direct-to-consumer, international businesses

Disney balloons
Disney’s business segments going forward are the newly formed direct-to-consumer and international; the combined parks, experiences and consumer products; media networks; and studio entertainment. (Pixabay)

With an ESPN subscription streaming service set to launch any day and a Disney streaming service due next year, Disney is consolidating its direct-to-consumer and international businesses into a newly formed segment.

Kevin Mayer, who has served as Disney’s chief strategy officer since 2015, has been named chairman of the new business segment.

“Kevin is a proven leader who has played a critical role in bringing together the collection of creative and technological assets that will allow Disney to offer unparalleled entertainment experiences in a direct-to-consumer future,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.

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In addition to ESPN+ and the Disney-branded streaming service, the new segment will contain Disney’s international media businesses and its ownership stake in Hulu.

The restructuring marks a change for Hulu, which was previously reported as part of Disney’s media networks segment as equity in the income of investees. Disney is currently pursuing a $52 billion deal to acquire Fox’s entertainment assets, including its stake in Hulu, which would make Disney a majority owner of the SVOD.

RELATED: How the $52B Fox deal will shape Disney’s streaming service strategy

Senior Vice President Agnes Chu, who is overseeing programming for the Disney-branded service that will launch in late 2019, will move to the direct-to-consumer and international segment.

Disney’s streaming tech company BAMTech will now house all consumer-facing digital technology and products as part of the new D2C segment. Management of global advertising sales for Disney’s media properties—including ESPN, ABC, Freeform and the Disney Channels—will move from Media Networks to the new segment. Also, Disney’s program-sales operations headed by Janice Marinelli—including global distribution of film and television content to the Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service, Hulu and other third-party platforms and channels, as well as Movies Anywhere–will be integrated into the new segment.

On top of all that, all of Disney’s international channels and all global direct-to-consumer businesses will also be included in the new segment, under the eye of Mayer.

“I want to thank Bob for giving me the opportunity to lead the talented teams who, through the power of new technology and innovation, are creating the future of entertainment viewing,” Mayer said in a statement. “Delivering our great stories and characters directly to consumers on all high-quality devices around the world will provide the company with meaningful new revenue streams and opportunities for growth.”

Disney’s business segments going forward are the newly formed direct-to-consumer and international; the combined parks, experiences and consumer products; media networks; and studio entertainment.

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