When Bob Chapek took over as CEO of Disney, things were going really, really well. The films were making billions of dollars, the theme parks were humming along, and Disney+ was launching at just the right time. Then COVID-19 hit and everything changed. Now, with Disney (along with every other entertainment company in Hollywood) trying to figure out what to do in the future, specifically in regards to film and TV projects, it appears Chapek is ready to make his first major move—restructure the company and emphasize streaming.
According to THR, Chapek has restructured the leadership at Disney to help streamline distribution and content creation with a focus on Direct-to-Consumer (aka streaming) services such as Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. The new structure is headlined by the creation of the Media and Entertainment division, led by the promoted executive, Kareem Daniel.
Under Daniel, the Media and Entertainment division will oversee distribution, operations, sales, advertising data and technology for all of Disney. And yes, that includes the day-to-day operations of the company’s streaming services. The other divisions of Disney, namely the creative arms, will continue to produce TV and film content and will hand it off to Daniel and his group to best decide the end-destination for each program and film.
“Given the incredible success of Disney+ and our plans to accelerate our direct-to-consumer business, we are strategically positioning our Company to more effectively support our growth strategy and increase shareholder value,” Chapek said. “Managing content creation distinct from distribution will allow us to be more effective and nimble in making the content consumers want most, delivered in the way they prefer to consume it. Our creative teams will concentrate on what they do best — making world-class, franchise-based content — while our newly centralized global distribution team will focus on delivering and monetizing that content in the most optimal way across all platforms, including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and the coming Star international streaming service.”
Daniel added, “I’m honored to be able to lead this new organization during such a pivotal and exciting time for our Company, and I’m grateful to Bob for giving me the opportunity. It’s a tremendous privilege to work with the talented and dedicated teams that will comprise this group, and I look forward to a close collaboration with the outstanding and incredibly successful team of creative content leaders at the Company, as together we build on the success we’ve already achieved in our DTC and legacy distribution business.”
Obviously, this restructuring is a direct result of the way the world is moving, as the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world of film and TV distribution. With theaters seemingly facing an existential threat, streaming has become a dominant form of distribution for film content. And with Disney+ continuing to collect subscribers at a huge rate, it’s understandable that the company would want to prioritize this new revenue stream.