Disney announced today it plans on expanding its direct-to-consumer streaming business to more global markets and is creating a new International Content and Operations group to aid in this push. The group will be headed by nearly 25-year Disney veteran Rebecca Campbell, who will focus on local and regional content production for Disney’s streaming services, while also overseeing Disney’s international teams. The new role will report directly to Disney CEO Bob Chapek. The company also today offered an update on its current streaming footprint and 2023 forecast for Disney+.
As of the end of fiscal 2021, Disney says it had 179 million total subscriptions across Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu. It plans to more than double the number of countries Disney+ is available in to over 160 by its fiscal 2023.
Though the new international content group is new, Disney says it already has more than 340 local and regional titles in various stages of production and development for its streaming services. That number will grow over time, as Campbell, who previously served as chairman of International Operations and Direct-to-Consumer, will focus on expanding the international content pipeline. In her expanded role, she’ll also continue to overseas teams in Asia Pacific, EMEA, India and Latin America.
The creation of the International Content and Operations group gives Disney a fourth home for content creation, alongside its Studios Content, General Entertainment Content and Sports Content groups, Disney says. This addition highlights the importance of establishing an expanded global footprint in streaming to better compete with streamers like Netflix, which is still trying to figure out how to win subscribers in some markets, like India, where it recently had to cut prices. HBO Max has also had its eye on gaining an international footprint, with recent launches in parts of Europe.
In addition to the new international content hub, Disney has also reorganized other parts of its streaming business.
The company promoted Joe Earley, previously EVP, Marketing & Operations for Disney+, as the new president of Hulu. He’ll report to Michael Paull, who has been promoted to the newly created role of president, Disney Streaming, which will be accountable for Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Star+ globally. Paull’s prior role as head of Disney+ has yet to be filled. In his new position, he reports to Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED) Chairman, Kareem Daniel.
“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, in a statement announcing the organizational changes. “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.”