Disney rejiggers streaming leadership, names new streaming and Hulu presidents
The Walt Disney Co. has appointed a new head of its Hulu streaming service as part of a broader move by the company to rejigger the leadership of its high-priority subscription video businesses.
Joe Earley, who previously served as the executive vice president of marketing and operations for Disney+, has been named president of Hulu, the Burbank-based entertainment giant said Wednesday.
Earley replaces Kelly Campbell, who left Disney-owned Hulu in October after just 19 months on the job to run a rival, Comcast Corp. streamer Peacock.
Earley’s appointment was just one of several announcements Disney made to establish new streaming leadership roles as Chief Executive Bob Chapek tries to accelerate the growth of its direct-to-consumer segment, which is being closely watched by Wall Street and the entertainment industry.
For nearly two years, Bob Iger and Bob Chapek have run the company together. After an Iger farewell tour, one Bob remains.
Michael Paull has been promoted to a newly created role overseeing Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, as well as Star+, which launched last summer as the company’s general entertainment and sports streaming service in Latin America.
Paull will hold the title of president of Disney Streaming and will report directly to Kareem Daniel, who is chairman of Disney’s media and entertainment distribution group under Chapek. Earley will report to Paull. A new president of Disney+ will eventually be named to fill a role Paull previously held.
Disney also named executive Rebecca Campbell to an expanded role overseeing international content for the company’s streaming services, reflecting the company’s desire to create more local and regional programming for markets outside the U.S.
Campbell, whose new title is chairman of international content and operations, reports directly to Chapek. The move makes international programming a fourth “content-creation engine” for Disney, alongside its studios (including Marvel and Pixar), general entertainment and sports groups.
Growing Disney’s global streaming empire is a primary task for Chapek, who was named CEO in February 2020 but has had to operate in the shadow of executive chairman Bob Iger. Iger, who served as CEO for 15 years before being succeeded by Chapek, left Disney at the end of last year.
Disney+ has a goal of reaching 230 million to 260 million subscribers by 2024. The service got off to a roaring start after launching in late 2019, but growth has subsided recently, adding 2.1 million subscribers to hit a total of 118 million in the most recent quarter. Hulu counts 43.8 million subscribers, while ESPN+ has 17.1 million.
Disney wants its total subscriber count — including Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ — to hit 300 million to 350 million by 2024.
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