Disney is combining all of its media sales and channel distribution into one organization that will be led by longtime ESPN executive Justin Connolly, who was promoted to president of media distribution.
The new structure puts all sales and distribution for all of Disney’s networks under its direct-to-consumer and international segment, which is led by Kevin Mayer. In this role, Connolly will continue to oversee all aspects of North American distribution, affiliate marketing and affiliate-related business operations for all the services provided by Disney and ESPN media networks.
Connolly will spearhead global app distribution deals for streaming services including the upcoming Disney+, which will launch later this year in the U.S. and roll out to other markets over the next few years. He will also be responsible for the distribution of film and television programming via home entertainment, broadcasting platforms, digital platforms, SVOD, and pay networks.
“By combining all of our media, affiliate, content and syndication sales, and distribution efforts into the Direct-to-Consumer & International segment, we continue to transform the ways in which we distribute the great stories and characters created by The Walt Disney Company’s studios and media networks,” Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment, said. “I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Justin for many years and believe his experience makes him well-suited to drive Disney’s media sales and distribution efforts. He is a consummate professional, a fantastic dealmaker, and a great leader.”
Connolly previously served as executive vice president, affiliate sales and marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks – overseeing all aspects of domestic distribution, ABC affiliate relations, affiliate marketing and affiliate-related business operations for all the services provided by Disney and ESPN media networks. In June 2017, he added oversight of ESPN’s strategy and business development teams to his portfolio.