In anticipation of the launch of their new digital streaming service and their recently announced merger with 20th Century Fox Studios, The Walt Disney Company announced a company-wide reorganization of their corporate structure. It is hoped that the new organization plan will streamline the current departments and allow for an easier transition for The Walt Disney Company's newly acquired properties.
The centerpiece of the reorganization is a consolidation of three of the company's departments - Direct To Consumer Services, Technology & International Media Operations - into a single division called the Direct-to-Consumer and International Segment. This division will include Disney's upcoming digital streaming service and will be overseen by Kevin Mayer, Disney's Chief Strategy Officer, who will take on the title Chairman of the Direct-to-Consumer and International Segment. The new plan will also be expanding the responsibilities of Parks Chief Bob Chapek - the newly named Chairman of Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products.
CNBC was the first to report on the reorganization, which was formally announced by Disney CEO Bob Iger. It is Iger's hope that the new structure will help Disney to "deliver the entertainment and sports content consumers around the world want most, with more choice, personalization and convenience than ever before."
The Walt Disney Company's two other segments - Media Networks and Studio Entertainment - will be largely unchanged by the new corporate structure. Media Networks will continue to focus on the management of those television networks owned by Disney, such as ESPN and ABC, with the only change being that management of international Disney cable channels will be transferred to Direct To Consumer Services, Technology & International Media Operations. Studio Entertainment will likewise continue to focus on film and television production through Disney's various studios such as Marvel Studios, Pixar Animation Studios and Lucasfilm, with their division overseeing program sales now being overseen by the Direct-to-Consumer and International Segment. Presumably Studio Entertainment will also take over the management of the various productions currently being overseen by 20th Century Fox Studios that were purchased in the recent merger.
While some are skeptical about the Fox/Disney merger and The Walt Disney Company's ability to compete with Netflix in the streaming services market, Iger remains optimistic. Last month, Iger told analysts that he believes Disney's large library of family entertainment coupled with their command over the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars movies and Pixar Studios gives them a distinct advantage no matter how much original content Netflix might produce in the future. The upcoming year promises to be interesting either way.