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Disney Reorganizes to Focus on Streaming

Media giant move comes amid pandemic-driven shift away from movie theaters.
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Walt Disney Co.  (DIS)  said Monday it’s reorganizing its media and entertainment businesses and named Kareem Daniel as Chairman, Media and Entertainment Distribution.

The company said in a news release the move would accelerate its direct-to-consumer strategy.

A newly centralized distribution group will oversee commercialization and distribution of all content globally.

Daniel will report to Bob Chapek, chief executive officer of Disney. “Kareem is an exceptionally talented, innovative and forward-looking leader, with a strong track record for developing and implementing successful global content distribution and commercialization strategies,” Chapek said in the statement.

Daniel has held leadership positions across a variety of businesses, including consumer products, games and interactive experiences, publishing, studio distribution, and Walt Disney Imagineering, according to the statement.

Content creation will be managed in three groups: Studios, General Entertainment and Sports. “The company’s three content groups will be responsible and accountable for producing and delivering content for theatrical, linear and streaming, with the primary focus being the company’s streaming services,” according to the statement.

Disney has been hard hit by the coronavirus, with movie theaters closed worldwide, theme parks shut, or operating at a reduced capacity, and cruise and other vacation operations halted. Its Disney+ streaming platform, launched late last year, has been a rare bright spot, as stay-at-home orders have driven millions of new subscriptions.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Chapek declined to comment on the company’s dividend.

Last week, activist investor Dan Loeb, a significant shareholder, urged the company to pull its dividend to invest in more content.

Shares of Disney rose $5.36, or 4.3%, to $130.33 in after-hours trading. 

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