21 MAY 2020

DISNEY RESTRUCTURES THE AD SALES AND MEDIA DISTRIBUTION

Following the departure of Kevin Mayer, who had been Chairman of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment since 2018, the company has decided to shift its Ad Sales and Media Distribution divisions from DTCI to its Media Networks Group.

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Following the departure of Disney streaming head, Kevin Mayer, who had been Chairman of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment since 2018, the company has decided to shift its Ad Sales and Media Distribution divisions from DTCI to its Media Networks Group. According to a Disney Spokesperson, President of Disney Advertising Sales, Rita Ferro and President of Media Distribution, Justin Connolly, will now both report to Peter Rice and Jimmy Pitaro, the Co-chairs of Disney Media Networks. There are no staffing change plans amid the move.

The shift, which returns the ad sales team to Disney’s Media Networks segment after a two-year hiatus had not been planned before Mayer’s departure. Both teams’ businesses generally support Disney’s linear networks, though Ferro recently began working with Hulu ad sales following the January reorganization, during which Hulu CEO Randy Freer exited the company. Hulu’s former Ad Sales Chief, Peter Naylor departed for Snap last month.The decision will also not affect Disney’s virtual upfront roadshows, which consists of seven tailored agency presentations, which are scheduled to begin next Tuesday. According to a spokesperson, Mayer had not been scheduled to take part in those presentations.

Mayer left Disney soon after the successful launch of Disney+, which accumulated 54 million subscribers in five months. Disney’s streaming division is the only segment of the company that is seeing growth during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that has hamstrung its normally lucrative parks, travel, and retail businesses. On Monday, longtime Disney vet Rebecca Campbell was appointed to replace Mayer as Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer & International, though she won’t oversee Ferro and Connolly’s teams.

Last July, Disney combined all of its media sales and TV channel distribution operations into a single unit under Connolly’s watch. Ferro has reported to Mayer since March 2018, when Disney’s ad sales units moved from the Media Networks group to the newly formed DTCI, a year before the Disney-Fox deal closed, and six months before Ferro was named President of Disney ad sales, and also assumed oversight of ESPN’s portfolio.