Disney Creates Direct-to-Consumer Unit to Oversee Streaming

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Effective immediately, the company will consolidate its parks and resorts unit with its consumer products division - and combine the management of its streaming initiatives to create a new segment dedicated to direct-to-consumer platforms.

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

If the Fox deal wins approval, Disney also will expand its programming portfolio and worldwide reach, plus own a majority stake in the Hulu streaming service.

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Disney also combined its theme parks business with the consumer products unit that licenses characters for toys, apparel and other merchandise. 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.

The reorganization also created a direct-to-consumer and global division, a media networks division and a studio entertainment segment. A second and still unnamed offering, built around the Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar brands, is expected late next year. Instead, he described the new structure as "strategically positioning our businesses for the future". 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 global operations to deliver the entertainment and sports content consumers around the world want most, with more choice, personalization and convenience than ever before.

The company is responding with its own digital push. Disney shares were up 0.4% at $104.14, when the Dow was down 242 points at 24,764 and when the S&P 500 was down nearly 15 points at 2,749.82.