Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International
Consumer Communication services
|Predecessor||Walt Disney International|
|Founded||March 14, 2018|
|Headquarters||Walt Disney Studios,|
|Kevin Mayer (Chairman)|
|Parent||The Walt Disney Company|
Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International is a business segment and subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company consisting of Disney Streaming Services, overseas media businesses, global advertising sales for ESPN, ABC, and other channels and syndicated television sales. As part of the company's formation, BAMTech has been placed under Direct-to-Consumer and International.
Disney and Sony Pictures formed in 1997 a film distribution joint venture in Southeast Asia. From 1999 to 2000, Bob Iger was president of Walt Disney International and ABC TV Group chairman. until his promotion to president and chief operating officer of the Walt Disney Company.
Andy Bird became the next president of Walt Disney International in 2004. At the time of Bird's appointment most countries units except in Latin America operated independently. He took the Latin America integrated operation as a guide for other regions. Strategically, Bird want their companies to be the Indian (or other country) Walt Disney Company not the Walt Disney Co. of a certain country, basically tailor the company to the country with for example localization of programming. Another Buena Vista International and Sony Pictures Releasing International joint venture, their 15th joint venture, was set up in Russia in December 2006. Diego Lerner, who lead Disney Latin America, thus was named President of Disney Europe, Middle East & Africa in 2009.
The Walt Disney Company CIS office in Russia opened in 2006. The company's original plan was for the release of three films per year. In 2009, Disney CIS released its first Russian language film, The Book of Masters which took in 10.8 million on a budget of $8 million. By April 2011, the company announced director Vladimir Grammatikov was hired by the company as creative producer while two more Russian films were placed into production, a fairy tale and a youth story. Instead, the country unit took a seven year hiatus then announced in April 2016 production on The Last Knight. On November 26, 2017, the film became the highest-grossing local-language release of all time in Russia with 1.68 billion rubles ($28.8 million).
Walt Disney International in 2014 appointed Luke Kang to head up its Greater China unit. Disney South East Asia Managing Director Rob Gilby appointed three country managers for Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand, who were Herry Salim, Veronica Espinosa-Cabalinan and Subha-Orn Rathanamongkolmas (Soupy) respectively in May 2017. With the retirement of its Asia head Paul Candland after 19 years in September 2017, Disney split the Asia region into two, North Asia and South Asia. North Asia consists of Japan, South Korea and Greater China and is head by Kang. While, South Asia combined India and South East Asia with India's head Mahesh Samat would assume leadership over the unit by October 1 and South East Asia head Gilby left the company. Also in September, Lerner was transfer to a new post within Disney International with Rebecca Campbell, then president of ABC Daytime and ABC Owned Television Stations, name to replace him as President of Disney EMEA. In August 2017, Sony Pictures withdrew from its Southeast Asian distribution joint venture with Disney.
By November 2015, Disney UK started up Disney's test streaming service, DisneyLife, with Disney films, TV series, books and music tracks, under its general manager Paul Brown. The original plan had the service spreading to other countries in Europe including France, Spain, Italy and Germany in 2016. In October 2017, Ireland was the second country that DisneyLife was made available. DisneyLife was launched in December 2015 through a partnership between Disney and Alibaba Digital Entertainment only to have the Chinese government shut it down in April 2015 because of foreign content rules. Instead in February 2018, Disney and Alibaba reach a new deal that places Disney content on Alibaba’s Youku streaming platform. In May 25, 2018, DisneyLife was expanded to the Philippines, making it as a third country where the service is available.
In August 2016, The Walt Disney Company acquired a 1/3 stake in BAMTech for $1 billion, with an option to acquire a majority stake in the future. On August 8, 2017, Disney announced that it would increase its ownership in the company to a 75% controlling stake for $1.58 billion. Disney also reiterated its plan to launch an ESPN-branded over-the-top service in early-2018 followed by a Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019.
Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International was formed as part of The Walt Disney Company’s March 14, 2018, strategic reorganization, in anticipation of integrating Fox assets, with units coming from all of the other segments. With the restructuring, Disney International chair Andy Bird is expected to leave Walt Disney Company. On May 25, 2018, Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International was incorporated.
BAMTech Media was renamed as Disney Streaming Services by October 10, 2018. At that time, ESPN’s chief technology officer Aaron LaBerge was named to the new post of executive vice-president and chief technology officer of the segment. On October 31, 2018, ESPN International executive vice-president and managing director Russell Wolff was named executive vice-president and general manager of ESPN+. The ESPN International regional general managers started reporting to DTCI’s regional leadership.
|Disney Digital Network||Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media||2018–|
|Disney Streaming Services (formerly BAMTech)||Disney corporate strategy office||2018—|
|Hulu (30%)||Disney–ABC Television Group||2018—|
|Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment||Walt Disney Studios||2018–|
|Disney–ABC Domestic Television||Disney–ABC Television Group (DATG)||2018—|
|Disney Channels Worldwide (International)|
|Disney Media Distribution|
|DATG advertising sales|
|ESPN sales and marketing||ESPN Inc.|
|ESPN International regional businesses||10/2018 —|
|Walt Disney International South Asia||Walt Disney International||2018–|
|The Walt Disney Company EMEA|
|Walt Disney International North Asia
|The Walt Disney Company Latin America|
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— along with “an astute awareness of how audiences connect with the Disney brand,” as Kevin Mayer, chairman of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, put it in a news release announcing Mr. Strauss’s promotion.
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