Disney reorganises to boost DTC
January 20, 2022
To support the ongoing expansion of The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer business around the world and fuel the expanding pipeline of local and regional content for its streaming services, the Company is creating a new hub for international content creation under the direction of Rebecca Campbell as Chairman, International Content and Operations.
In addition, the Company is making several key executive appointments to its Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED) segment under the leadership of its Chairman, Kareem Daniel:
- Campbell, in her newly-expanded role as Chairman, International Content and Operations, will focus on local and regional content production for Disney’s streaming services, as well as continue overseeing Disney’s international media teams worldwide, reporting directly to Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. The International Content and Operations group will be home to a fourth content-creation engine for the Company, alongside the Studios Content, General Entertainment Content and Sports Content groups.
- Michael Paull has been promoted to the newly-created role of President, Disney Streaming, with accountability for Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, and Star+, and will oversee these platforms globally for Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, reporting to Daniel.
- Joe Earley, who previously served as Executive Vice President, Marketing & Operations for Disney+, has been named President of Hulu, and will report to Paull.
- The streaming leadership team will also include a new head of Disney+, who has yet to be named, filling a role that Paull held previously. Russell Wolff continues to serve as head of ESPN+. These roles will also report to Paull.
“Disney’s direct-to-consumer efforts have progressed at a tremendous pace in just a few short years, and our organisation has continued to grow and evolve in support of our ambitious global streaming strategy,” advised Chapek. “Rebecca has played a vital role in orchestrating our global platform expansion, and I’m excited that she will be leading our new International Content group, bringing her expertise and talent to oversee the growing pipeline of original local and regional content for our streaming services while continuing to lead our international operations. Likewise, with a relentless focus on serving consumers, Kareem has developed an industry-leading team of seasoned executives who are uniquely equipped to take our streaming business into Disney’s next century.”
Since the launch of Disney+ in late 2019, the Company’s streaming business has expanded rapidly, with 179 million total subscriptions across Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu as of the end of fiscal 2021, and plans to more than double the number of countries Disney+ is in to over 160 by fiscal 2023. Disney is also investing significantly in the creation of original local and regional content for its streaming services, with more than 340 titles already in various stages of development and production.
“Great content is what drives the success of our streaming services, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work even more closely with the talented creators in our international markets who are producing new stories with local relevance to delight our audiences around the globe,” declared Campbell. “Disney is admired the world over for the quality of our storytelling and the deep emotional connection we have with our consumers, and I am honoured to continue leading our international teams as we build on that legacy.”
In her new role as Chairman, International Content and Operations, Campbell will be responsible for expanding the international content creation pipeline, amplifying the Company’s localised content strategy. She will continue to oversee the Company’s teams in Asia Pacific, EMEA, India and Latin America who manage the Company’s international linear channels, regional streaming, local ad sales, and local distribution. Previously, Campbell served as Chairman, International Operations and Direct-to-Consumer, after holding senior leadership roles across Disney’s media, international and parks businesses during a nearly 25-year tenure.
“From the inception of our DTC business, we have been guided by a single, clear goal–to bring audiences the best entertainment wherever and whenever they choose–and we have continued to build a world-class team to deliver on that promise,” explained Daniel. “Michael Paull has deep experience in the world of streaming, and is an accomplished leader with a passion for this business and a proven track record of building and expanding our streaming operations. Bringing Disney’s streaming platforms together under Michael’s expert leadership will allow us to create an even more compelling value proposition for consumers.”
Paull will have accountability for the Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution direct-to-consumer platforms globally, and will also oversee Disney Streaming’s industry-leading product, technology, data science, operations, and viewer experience teams. He joined Disney in 2017 as part of the acquisition of Bamtech Media, where he served as CEO, and he and his team have been central to the Company’s pivot into the direct-to-consumer space, launching ESPN+ in 2018, followed by the launch and rapid global expansion of Disney+ in 2019, and the launch of Star+ in Latin America in August 2021. Prior to Bamtech, Paull spent five years at Amazon as Vice President, Digital Video, where he ran Amazon Channels worldwide, and he has held a number of other senior leadership positions at leading media companies over the course of his 20-plus year career.
“Now that we have established our platforms as category leaders, I’m looking forward to the new challenges ahead as we continue to innovate and scale globally, while delighting consumers with all the incredible entertainment and sports programming coming from our content partners,” remarked Paull. “I’ve also had the pleasure of working closely with Joe Earley these past few years and can’t imagine a better leader to take the helm of Hulu.”
In his new role as President of Hulu, Earley will build on the general-entertainment service’s reputation as a marquee destination for popular, award-winning original series and films, and live TV. Earley joined Disney+ in January of 2019 as Executive Vice President of Marketing and Operations, and in January of 2021 added oversight of global content curation for the flagship streaming service. Prior to joining Disney+, Earley served as President of The Jackal Group, where he oversaw all areas of the studio’s television, film, commercial theatre and digital divisions. Prior to that, he served in numerous roles in his two-decade career with Fox, where he last served as Chief Operating Officer for Fox Television Group.
“I am excited to embark on this new era at Hulu, a streaming pioneer that over the past 15 years has distinguished itself with an unrivaled offering of ground-breaking, award-winning series and films from our talented content partners,” Earley said. “I have been a long-time Hulu subscriber and fan and have admired the unbridled creativity of the service’s content and culture, and I’m looking forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead, collaborating with our content studios, and tapping into the full power and strength of The Walt Disney Company.”