All change at the House Of Mouse. First of all they seem to have reached a sensible decision regarding how they are badging, organizing and handling the old 20th Century Fox content that stands apart from the MCU. Things like X-Men and Fantastic Four. Until now they were seemingly just thrown onto various services including Disney+.
Now the Marvel page on Disney+ features a new for non-MCU movies – Marvel Legacy. Different views are available including a timeline order, and it includes Legacy animation.
The bigger news however isn’t this re-badging. It’s a wholescale re-organisation of Disney’s entertainment and media divisions.
Unit one is Studios. This will sit under co-Chairs Alan Horn and Alan Bergman. The two Alan’s will cover all branded theatrical and episodic content. This includes Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures. This means Marvel supremo Kevin Feige reports directly to the Alans, as does Kathleen Kennedy.
Unit two is General Entertainment under Peter Rice. This is where TV lives. 20th Television, ABC Signature and Touchstone Television, ABC News, Disney Channels, Freeform, FX, and National Geographic.
Unit three is Sports. ESPN’s live sports programing, sports news, and all sports content for cable platforms including ESPN Plus and ABC. This will be chaired by James Pitaro.
However the biggest news of all is unit four. The Media And Entertainment Distribution Group. This is a brand new “hub” operation that will contain a a centralized global distribution team. Here will sit P&L management, content monetization, distribution, operations and sales, technology, advertising, data. Basically all of the nuts and bolts it takes to run a global entertainment giant. Why is this all in one place now?
According to the press release, not only is this effective immediately, but this is because the:
“…primary focus will be the Company’s streaming services…”
This means everything but actual production sits centrally in a unit that is the sole distribution outlet and bridge between Disney, it’s own streamer, other streamers and U.S. TV networks. Basically units one, two and three create content and unit four does everything else including a primary focus on streaming distribution.
This unit will be headed up by Kareem Daniel, the company’s current President of Consumer Products.
CEO Bob Chapek’s statement to the market basically admits that the numbers seen on Disney+ have shifted their focus. So there you go, the Mulan numbers that everyone doubted checked out vs. the Nielsen numbers, and now they check out vs. the sudden strategic shift. He goes on to say they are:
“…strategically positioning our Company to more effectively support our growth strategy and increase shareholder value. 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.”
It’s looking bleak for theaters right now. Watch the rest of the industry to see how they react.
Warner has HBO Max. Paramount has CBS All Access. So the platforms are there if some others want to follow suit. They just need to rebadge, answer the pricing riddle and do something about subscription fees such as allow a free entry PPV / PVOD area to open it up to non-subscribers to buy or rent the content.