Disney is consolidating some of its businesses amid the company’s pending $54.2 billion takeover of 21st Century Fox. Kevin Mayer will lead the new streaming operations, while Parks boss Bob Chapek adds consumer products to his purview.
“We are strategically positioning our businesses for the future, creating a more effective, global framework to serve consumers worldwide, increase growth, and maximize shareholder value,” Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said Wednesday. “With our unparalleled Studio and Media Networks serving as content engines for the Company, we are combining the management of our direct-to-consumer distribution platforms, technology and international operations to deliver the entertainment and sports content consumers around the world want most, with more choice, personalization and convenience than ever before.”
Mayer, who has served as Disney’s chief strategy officer since 2015, has been appointed chairman of this new Direct-to-Consumer and International Business segment, becoming the boss of the company’s forthcoming streaming service.
“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,” Iger said.
Mayer’s newly-created segment will serve as a global, multiplatform media, technology and distribution organization for the content created by Disney’s Studio Entertainment and Media Networks groups. It will encompass both the upcoming ESPN+ and Disney-branded streaming services, as well as the Mouse House’s stake in Hulu. Senior Vice President Agnes Chu will report to Mayer and continue to oversee programming for the family-friendly streaming service, which is expected to launch in late 2019 and feature content from Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm.
BAMTech — the streaming video company which Disney acquired a major stake in last year which is developing both streaming platforms — will now house all consumer-facing digital technology and products across Disney. The company says the move will increase quality and efficiencies, as well as greater consumer insights allowing for more personalization and an improved user experience.
Mayer will also oversee the distribution operations led by Janice Marinelli and global advertising sales for all Disney-owned networks.
“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,” Mayer said.
Chapek, who currently runs the parks and resort scene, has stepped up to chairman of the new Walt Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products business segment. Chapek takes on these responsibilities just days after former consumer products head, James Pitaro, was promoted to ESPN boss and co-chair of Disney’s television network business, with Iger calling him the “perfect leader to run these combined teams.”
“Having worked with the exceptional teams at both Parks and Resorts and Consumer Products, I know this combination of incredible skills and resources will lead to a whole host of new creative ideas for high-quality products and experiences to delight our guests,” Chapek added.
According to the company, the Media Networks (co-chaired by Disney-ABC TV boss Ben Sherwood and Pietro) and Studio Entertainment segments (led by Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan F. Horn) will remain virtually the same. However, international Disney Channel operations and management of global advertising sales/technology are moving from media’s domain to Mayer, as is the studio’s management of program sales.
Disney announced last December its plans to acquire 21st Century Fox assets in a $52.4 billion deal. The purchase has to get regulatory approval before its a done deal.