The Walt Disney Co. elevated Michael Paull, the executive who helped launch the company’s ESPN+ service, to the newly created position of president of streaming, with responsibility for all of its video services globally.
Paull will report to Kareem Daniel, who runs Disney’s film and TV distribution businesses. Paull previously served as president of the Disney+ and ESPN+ businesses. He’ll now also supervise Hulu and the company’s Star business internationally, and report to Daniel, Bloomberg reported.
Separately, the company gave Rebecca Campbell, Chairman of International Content and Operations for Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses, additional authority over a new unit that will focus on local content production. She will report to Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek.
Meanwhile, in a statement Disney announced several key executive appointments to its Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED) segment under the leadership of its Chairman, Kareem Daniel.
Campbell, in her newly expanded role, will focus on local and regional content production for Disney’s streaming services, as well as continue overseeing Disney’s international media teams worldwide.
The International Content and Operations group will be home to a fourth content-creation engine for the company, alongside the Studios Content, General Entertainment Content and Sports Content groups, the statement elaborated.
Joe Earley, who previously served as Executive Vice President, Marketing & Operations for Disney+, has been named President of Hulu, and will report to Paull.
The streaming leadership team will also include a new head of Disney+, who is yet to be named, filling a role that Paull held previously. Russell Wolff continues to serve as head of ESPN+. These roles will also report to Paull.
“Disney’s direct-to-consumer efforts have progressed at a tremendous pace in just a few short years, and our organization has continued to grow and evolve in support of our ambitious global streaming strategy,” Chapek said.
“Rebecca has played a vital role in orchestrating our global platform expansion, and I’m excited that she will be leading our new International Content group, bringing her expertise and talent to oversee the growing pipeline of original local and regional content for our streaming services while continuing to lead our international operations. Likewise, with a relentless focus on serving consumers, Kareem has developed an industry-leading team of seasoned executives who are uniquely equipped to take our streaming business into Disney’s next century.”
Since the launch of Disney+ in late 2019, the streaming business has expanded rapidly with 179 million total subscriptions across Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu as of end of fiscal 2021, the company said, adding that plans are afoot to more than double the number of countries Disney+ is in to over 160 by fiscal 2023.
Disney is also investing significantly in the creation of original local and regional content for its streaming services, with more than 340 titles already in various stages of development and production.
“Great content is what drives the success of our streaming services, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work even more closely with the talented creators in our international markets who are producing new stories with local relevance to delight our audiences around the globe,” Campbell said.
She will continue to oversee the company’s teams in Asia Pacific, EMEA, India and Latin America who manage the company’s international linear channels, regional streaming, local ad sales and local distribution. Previously, Campbell served as Chairman, International Operations and Direct-to-Consumer, after holding senior leadership roles across Disney’s media, international and parks businesses during a nearly 25-year tenure.