The NFL is finding a new home for its Sunday Ticket package, and the bidding is down to two of the world’s largest tech companies and one of the world’s largest media conglomerates. Amazon, Apple and Disney are all vying for the out-of-market set, which the NFL reportedly wants to shift at least partly to a streaming property. The league is seeking $2.5 billion to $3 billion annually for Sunday Ticket.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek has gotten a new long term contract as the the board meets this week. They voted unanimously to extend his current deal, which expires in February 2023, for three years. “Disney was dealt a tough hand by the pandemic, yet with Bob at the helm, our businesses—from parks to streaming—not only weathered the storm, but emerged in a position of strength,” said Susan Arnold, chairman of the board. “In this important time of growth and transformation, the board is committed to keeping Disney on the successful path it is on today, and Bob’s leadership is key to achieving that goal. Bob is the right leader at the right time for The Walt Disney Company, and the board has full confidence in him and his leadership team,” the board said.
He has the board’s support, but Disney CEO Bob Chapek has had a rough time with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a slipping stock and concerns about Disney+. How long will he hold on?
It is a colossal job that has made the little-known Daniel, 48, one of the entertainment industry’s most powerful executives. In some ways, he is Disney’s top content traffic cop, deciding whether $33 billion in annual film and television content gets routed to streaming, traditional TV channels or theaters. Should the next Pixar movie debut exclusively in theaters? Or should it be made instantly available “for free” to Disney+ subscribers? Pixar will be asked for input, but Daniel and his team will make the final call.
The heiress’ move comes two decades after her father, Roy E. Disney, led a proxy fight that ousted then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner.
The executive is tasked with keeping the company a creative powerhouse while avoiding the leadership clashes that felled her former boss, Peter Rice.
Disney said it has signed up 10 sponsors as the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche battle for the National Hockey League’s championship. There will also be 59 other advertisers in 35 categories appearing during the telecasts.
Dana Walden is ready for this moment. On the heels of a shocking Hollywood management shake-up at Disney, the newly promoted chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content now oversees a massive portfolio that includes the programming arms of Hulu, FX, ABC, Freeform, Nat Geo, 20th Century Television, ABC Signature and more. Walden’s ascent at Disney is not a surprise, but the sudden departure of her predecessor and longtime boss, Peter Rice, surely was when the news surfaced on June 9 that Disney CEO Bob Chapek had fired him.
Disney and India’s Reliance Industries have won the broadcasting rights for the Indian Premier League for more than $6 billion, making the Twenty20 cricket competition one of the most lucrative sports leagues in the world in terms of cost per game.
Warren Littlefield is looking to make more Must-See TV with Disney’s 20th Television and ABC Signature. The network president-turned-producer, whose prolific output in recent years has included Fargo, The Handmaid’s Tale and Dopesick, has sealed a multi-year overall deal with 20th and ABC Signature that will keep him exclusive with those studios through 2026.
In an industry where many executives are quick to tout their own accomplishments, Peter Rice was known for turning down opportunities to take a public victory lap. The soft-spoken British executive, who was ousted on Wednesday from the top TV job at Disney, has a reputation for quietly cultivating relationships with producers and directors. On Thursday, he was formally replaced by his top lieutenant, Walt Disney Television entertainment chairman Dana Walden. By all accounts, Rice didn’t see it coming — at all. He was blindsided as he learned of his fate in what was described by a source as a conversation with Disney CEO Bob Chapek that lasted less than 10 minutes.
In a shocking turn of events, Peter Rice has been ousted as head of TV content for Disney, to be replaced by his top lieutenant, Dana Walden. The move enhances Walden’s stature as one of the most powerful and prominent executives in the content industry. Within Disney, it elevates Walden over her longtime peer John Landgraf, leader of FX Networks. Walden’s purview includes ABC Entertainment, ABC News, Disney Branded Television, Disney Television Studios, Freeform, FX, Hulu Originals, National Geographic Content and Onyx Collective. She will now report directly to Chapek.
The third iteration of the XFL has found a TV home. The league and Disney have struck a global rights deal that will see all XFL regular season and playoff games running on ESPN, ABC and — in its first sports rights deal since becoming part of Disney — FX. The spring football league is set to begin play in 2023.
CEO Bob Chapek said advertisers “have been asking for this for years” and predicted excitement over the Disney+ availabilities, which will be pitched in the upfront with ABC and the linear cable networks, along with other digital properties.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) managed to get outsized attention for legislation that likely will go nowhere: A bill that targets Disney by reversing copyright protection for large media conglomerations. Hawley, viewed as a potential 2024 presidential contender, introduced the Copyright Clause Restoration Act on Tuesday, which would return copyright protections to a maximum of 56 years. It’s the latest effort to target The Walt Disney Co. after it came out against a Florida parental rights bill, which opponents have dubbed the Don’t Say Gay bill.
She is responsible for external and internal corporate communications strategies and execution for the extensive portfolio of content brands including 20th Television, ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Signature, Disney Branded Television, Freeform, FX, Hulu Originals, National Geographic and Onyx Collective.
After less than four months, there is another changing of the communications guard at the Walt Disney Co. Battered by the ongoing battle with Florida Gov. and 2024 POTUS hopeful Ron De Santis as well as internal dissent, Geoff Morrell is out as chief corporate affairs officer at the House of Mouse. Splitting up Morrell’s role, Biden administration insider Kristina Schake will handled Disney communications efforts, while General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez will take over government relations and global public policy.
The move could have huge tax implications for Disney, whose series of theme parks have transformed Orlando into one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and serves to further sour the relationship between the Republican-led government and a major political player in the state.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Senate on Wednesday passed a bill to repeal a law allowing Walt Disney World to operate a private government over its properties in the state, escalating a feud with the entertainment giant over its opposition to what critics call the “ Don’t Say Gay ” law. The proposal could have huge tax […]
Disney has over the past two years spent billions to snare new rights deals with top sports properties like Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, the PGA Tour and others. But in months to come, the company may place new emphasis on programming around those big properties. New research from the company indicates more sports fans are interested in “the game around the game,” says Lisa Valentino, EVP at Disney Advertising Sales, and that could manifest itself increasingly in sports content that is found on smartphones; activity related to fantasy sports; or content related to sports-betting.
Kristina Schake, who has led the Biden administration’s Covid vaccination education efforts and previously served as communications director for First Lady Michelle Obama and later in a top role in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is joining The Walt Disney Co. as its lead spokesperson. Schake will report to Geoff Morrell, the company’s chief corporate affairs officer.
As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law on Monday, The Walt Disney Co. issued a statement vowing to help repeal the controversial legislation. Disney’s public opposition to the law follows an employee walkout in protest of CEO Bob Chapek’s mishandling of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. “Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” the statement reads. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.”
On the one side are LGBTQ advocates and Disney employees calling for a walkout in protest of CEO Bob Chapek’s slow response in publicly criticizing Florida legislation that opponents dubbed as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. On the other are politicians like Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who accuse the entertainment conglomerate of bending to cancel culture after a Disney decision to temporarily suspend political contributions in the state.
As many of its LGBTQ+ employees get set for a full-day walkout Tuesday, Disney has decided to postpone a management retreat set for next week as it continues efforts to calm internal waters. News of the postponement came as Disney CEO Bob Chapek conducted a town hall meeting for all employees Monday. The exec is continuing to try to put the company on more stable footing after its response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill met with fierce backlash internally and in influential pockets of the talent community. All of the company’s three major content suppliers — Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm — have been publicly critical of the company’s handling of the situation.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek said Wednesday the company is pledging $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign and other organizations protecting LGBTQ rights following backlash to the company’s initial quiet response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, as well as a report that the company has given money to all of the bill’s sponsors. Chapek, who is taking his first public stance against the bill, says he will also be meeting with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to discuss Disney’s “concerns” over the legislation.
In the wake of controversy over Disney’s quiet response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, as well as a report that the company has given money to all of the bill’s sponsors, CEO Bob Chapek expressed Disney’s “unwavering commitment to the LGBTQ+ community” in a company-wide email.
Don’t count Nielsen out of TV’s measurement wars just yet. Disney said Tuesday that it had entered into an agreement with Publicis Media to test work on Nielsen’s new NielsenOne system, a measurement product that aims to count unduplicated video audiences across linear and digital screens and that Nielsen expects to introduce formally later this year.
ESPN and The Walt Disney Co. said they reached an expanded agreement with Peyton Manning and his Omaha Productions. The new deal adds a fourth 10-game season of Monday Night Football with Peyton & Eli, which appeared opposite Monday Night Football on ESPN2.
CEO Bob Chapek: Live sports are the “the most powerful draw on TV.” Lower broadcast operating income, he said, was affected by an adverse comparison to prior-year political advertising revenue at the owned television stations.
Disney beat Wall Street expectations for earnings, revenue and streaming subscriber growth in its fiscal first quarter, sending its beleaguered shares up almost 10% in after-hours trading. Flagship streaming service Disney+ reached 129.8 million subscribers, ahead of analysts’ consensus expectation for 125.4 million.
This year, Disney will hold an in-person upfront presentation at Basketball City at Pier 36 in New York’s Lower East Side, according to a memo sent by ad sales and partnerships chief Rita Ferro to the company’s clients Tuesday. Ferro told clients that the new May 17 event would be “unlike anything you’ve ever seen from Disney.”
Longtime Wall Street analyst Alexia Quadrani is moving across the aisle to lead investor relations for Disney. Quadrani served as managing director and senior analyst for U.S. Media Equity Research at J.P. Morgan for the past 14 years. Her official title will be senior vice president and she will report to Disney CFO Christine McCarthy.
Bob Chapek earned $32.5 million in compensation for Disney’s fiscal 2021 year, more than double the $14 million he pulled in during 2020, which was heavily depreciated due to the first year of the pandemic. The pay results were disclosed in an SEC filing on Wednesday.
Disney reorganized its global direct-to-consumer streaming organization, including installing Joe Earley, formerly head of Disney Plus marketing and operations, as president of Hulu. As part of the reorg, Disney is creating a new hub for international content creation under the direction of Rebecca Campbell as chairman, international content and operations. She previously held the title of chairman, international operations and direct-to-consumer.
Bob Chapek, who is nearing the two-year mark since he took the baton as CEO for the Walt Disney Co., has articulated three key strategic priorities for the company in a memo to employees. Referring to them as “pillars,” Chapek identifies the three areas as storytelling, innovation and a “relentless focus on our audience.”
Disney Ad Sales announced that it has locked in 13 brands as sponsors for its telecasts of College Football Playoff and other post-season bowl games as the rise in COVID-19 cases cancels some contests and raises questions about whether others will be played since five have already been canceled.