The Walt Disney Company is consolidating its direct-to-consumer and international media operations into a single global business unit, in preparation for the launch of a new online service.
Disney has combined its direct-to-consumer and international businesses in a global, multiplatform media, technology and distribution unit to serve its studio entertainment and media networks groups.
The new segment will bring together its international media businesses to support its stake in Hulu, a forthcoming ESPN+ streaming service, and a planned Disney-branded direct-to-consumer service.
Disney is planning to launch a yet to be named online service in late 2019 as the exclusive home for subscription video-on-demand viewing of the latest movies in the pay-television window from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, plus some exclusive shows and series, together with thousands of titles from the Disney film and television libraries.
The new streaming services will be supported by BAMTECH, the technology platform it acquired from Major League Baseball.
Global advertising sales will also move into the same group, selling across all the Disney media properties, including its online and direct-to-consumer platforms
Programme sales, including global distribution of film and television programming will also be integrated into the new group, together with international channels.
“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,” said Bob Iger, the chairman and chief executive of The Walt Disney Company.
Kevin Mayer, previously the chief strategy officer, will be chairman of the new direct-to-consumer and international business group. He said, “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.”
Reporting directly to Bob Iger, he has previously overseen the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and the pending deal for 21st Century Fox.
The rest of the business will be grouped under either studio entertainment or media networks, which will create content, or a combined parks, experiences and consumer products group.
It looks like a concerted effort to avoid possible channel conflicts between different divisions, so that the new online initiatives are not in direct competition with other international operations. It shows that Disney is taking its direct-to-consumer plans very seriously.