Image credit: Jenny Nilsson
The $71.3 billion deal is one of the biggest media acquisitions the country has ever seen, and it densely consolidated most of the entertainment landscape.
The sprawling multimedia and entertainment company has an equally vast org chart. But amidst the winding branches that connect leaders and offices from around the world is the Disney General Entertainment Content Group, referred to internally as the DGE.
With enough firepower under its belt to conquer the seemingly endless pockets of competitors Netflix, Amazon and Apple, DGE has rolled out its own streaming service Disney+ and it shows no signs of slowing down.
Check out the team at DGE that is solidifying Disney’s place in the arms race for streaming audiences following the massive restructuring that took place after the acquisition.
For 15 years, Disney was steered by Robert Iger at the helm. He went from CEO to Executive Chairman in Feb 2020 and has been serving as an advisor to the Board and company until his contract expires in December 2021.
Iger transformed the media company into the entertainment behemoth it is today. He oversaw four major acquisitions: Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009, Lucasfilm in 2012 and 21st Century Fox in 2019. He also leveraged direct-to-consumer technology to launch ESPN+ in 2018 and Disney+ in 2019.
Bob Chapek replaced Iger as CEO. Before he stepped into the role, he served as Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products since the segment's creation in 2018 and prior to that was Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Reports since 2015. Disney Parks, Experiences and Products is the largest business segment in the company, and as Chairman Chapek oversaw over 170,000 employees worldwide.
While Disney’s iconic theme parks and resorts across the world account for a huge portion of its success, its library of film and television content also contributes heavily to its brand awareness and revenue. Sitting directly under Chapek is Peter Rice, Chairman of General Entertainment Content (DGE).
Rice oversees all of Disney’s streaming platforms and its cable and broadcasting networks. After the merger, the group now includes the content engines of 20th Television, ABC Signature and Touchstone Television, ABC News, Disney Channels, Freeform, FX and National Geographic.
Rice assumes this new role with quite an impressive resume under his belt. Prior to his current position, he served as president of 21st Century Fox and Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group. During his tenure, FNG earned more than 600 Primetime Emmy nominations, 68 Golden Globe nominations and more than 200 Sports Emmy nominations.
Walden came over to Disney during the merger and now heads 20th Century Fox TV, ABC Studios, the Freeform network, ABC-owned TV stations, ABC Entertainment and several other divisions. Before the deal, she was the Chair and CEO of Fox Television Group, where she oversaw one of the most successful studios in Hollywood.
Marsh leads all Disney-branded content made by DGE for kids, teens and families, spanning live-action specials and animated movies and series. His role also includes the oversight of all the shows the TV production team makes for Disney+. His direct reports include team leads for Disney’s animation strategy for Disney channels, Disney Music Group and original programming for Disney Junior.
On September 21, the Hollywood Reporter published that Marsh is exiting after nearly a 33-year stint at the company. He will be running his own production company for Disney and is working with Rice on a replacement. He will continue in his role through the end of 2021.
Marsh’s exit is exemplary of the cost of the massive restructuring Disney undertook when it acquired 21st Century Fox studios. Other execs to leave since the deal include Craig Hunegs, who left the Mouse House in May after major org changes moved Disney Television Studios and 20th TV under Walden. Just this week, Hulu President Kelly Campbell has left her post as in talks with NBCUniversal to take up a senior leadership role on its leadership team.
Another part of this restructuring was moving much of the company’s business operations under Kareem Daniel, Chairman of the Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED).
The DMED comprises all the different direct-to-consumer streaming services you can think of, including Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, Hotstar and Disney Music Group. Daniel is personally responsible for overseeing all distribution, operations, sales, advertising, data and technology functions worldwide for all the company’s content engines, but also manages the operations for streaming services and domestic television networks. Team leads that feed into Daniel include those for international operations for direct-to-consumer, President of Disney Platform Distribution and the entirety of the Hulu and Disney+ teams.
His team works in close collaboration with the content creation teams on programming and marketing matters, but when it comes to Disney+, all unscripted content and production teams roll into the DGE group and report directly to Marsh.