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Disney Reorganizes TV and Streaming Content Units Under Peter Rice

The Walt Disney Water Tower (Courtesy of Michael Buckner/Variety)

Following Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s major reorganization announcement last month, Disney continues to reshuffle the corporate pieces to better focus on its streaming business.

In an internal memo to staff from Peter Rice, chairman of the recently rebranded Disney General Entertainment Content (DGE) division, he elaborated on the company’s decision to split off its content creation team from its distribution and commercialization efforts, and outlined its leadership and publicity structures.

For our team, this means we will wholly focus our resources and efforts on developing, producing and marketing exceptional content to fuel the company’s streaming and linear platforms while our colleagues at Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED) will distribute and monetize that content and run the linear networks and streaming platforms,” wrote Rice.

Calling it a “big change to our legacy television structure which was built around linear networks,” Rice says the reorganization is an opportunity to “fully focus on what we do best”, i.e. programming creation.

Rice also promised to work “hand in glove” with Kareem Daniel, the recently appointed head of the media and entertainment distribution group (the unit responsible for distribution and commercialization), head of international and direct-to-consumer Rebecca Campbell, and Disney’s international and media and entertainment distribution teams.

Rice’s new leadership team consists of familiar names with new titles and responsibilities: president of DGE business operations Ravi Ahuja, ABC News president James Goldston, FX chairman John Landgraf, National Geographic Partners chairman Gary Knell, Disney Branded Television president and chief creative officer Gary Marsh, National Geographic Content President Courteney Monroe, and Walt Disney Television chairman of entertainment Dana Walden.

As part of the changes, Monroe now reports directly to Rice instead of Knell. Knell, who oversees the joint venture between Disney and National Geographic Society, now reports to the board of National Geographic Partners.

The reshuffling also includes the consolidation of marketing, publicity and media planning. One agency, led by Hulu and general entertainment content marketing president Shannon Ryan, will market DGE content distributed to Hulu and the linear networks, which covers content produced by Disney Television Studios, Hulu Originals, ABC Entertainment, Freeform and ABC News.

Jayanta Jenkins is joining Disney from Samsung Mobile as head of content marketing for Disney Plus and general entertainment, and will oversee a second internal agency that covers marketing, publicity and media planning for DGE-created content for Disney Plus and linear networks including Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD and National Geographic.

Ryan will report to Walden, while Jenkins will report to Marsh and Monroe.

FX’s marketing and publicity team, led by Stephanie Gibbons, will continue to market all FX programming for Hulu and linear.

“Focusing our structure around content engines and centralized support functions will make us more effective, flexible and prolific as we focus on our core strength: making great television,” wrote Rice. “Over the last several months, in the face of unprecedented change and enormous challenges, your collective efforts and tireless commitment to keeping our television business running have been nothing short of exceptional, and I am incredibly proud to work alongside all of you. Together we have achieved so much and I am excited about the amazing opportunities and limitless possibilities that lie ahead. We will undoubtedly face more questions and challenges as we implement these changes, but I am confident that together we will continue to rise to the occasion with resourcefulness and resilience.”

Variety's Elaine Low contributed to this post.

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