EXCLUSIVE… BREAKING…I’ve just learned that there’s a restructure underway that will consolidate the Disney/ABC financial top jobs under one top executive who’ll report to mogul Anne Sweeney. The new guy put in charge is Peter Seymour who’ll fill the newly created position of EVP and CFO for the Disney/ABC Television Group. He replaces both Jim Hedges, the 17-year CFO at ABC, and Jewell Engstrom, the 16-year CFO at Disney Cable. My sources tell me that Seymour may find a job in the new structure for both of them or one of them in the coming weeks. Seymour has been EVP of Strategy and Research for Disney Media Networks since 2008, and I’m told he will retain his oversight of strategy development for the Walt Disney Co’s worldwide broadcasting and cable programming business, as well as his supervision of research, customer relationship management, media planning, and franchise management. His new responsibilities consolidate financial control for the ABC Television Network, ABC Studios, ABC Owned Station Group, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Disney Domestic Television, ABC Family, Radio Disney and Hyperion Publishing. Mr. Seymour has been Executive Vice President of Strategy and Research for Disney Media Networks since 2008. Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair of Media Networks & President of the Disney/ABC Television Group, will make an announcement about the shake-up soon. Her thought process for consolidating the two jobs into one is to ”streamline” decision-making and strategy. She views Seymour as a “proven” executive.
Seymour joined the Disney/ABC Television Group as a SVP in 2005. He was part of the team that developed the strategy for converting Toon Disney and Jetix channels worldwide into Disney XD, launching Disney Junior, and expanding Disney Channel into multiple international markets. He was an integral part of efforts to digitize ABCNews that led to ABCNews’ relationship with Yahoo and its 24-hour cable network joint venture with Univision. He also has been instrumental in planning the deployment of ABC, ABC Family and Disney content on digital platforms, including the recent launch of the Watch Disney apps in conjunction with Comcast. He also partnered with ESPN to launch the Disney Media and Advertising Lab in Austin. And his franchise management team is responsible for developing merchandising and licensing strategies for key properties like Phineas & Ferb, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, ABC Family’s Jane by Design, and ABC’s Castle, The Chew and Once Upon a Time.
Prior to joining Disney Media Networks, Seymour spent nine years in the Strategic Planning unit of the Walt Disney Co where he oversaw corporate development and worked closely with the broadcasting, internet, video games and technology units of the company. He joined Disney from The LEK/Alcar Consulting Group, where he managed strategy consulting projects in technology and media fields.
The value of Comcast and NBC Universal‘s 15% stake in A&E Television Networks has risen following the success of the Hatfields & McCoys. When Comcast disclosed in an SEC filing early in May … Read More »
Neil Patrick Harris has joined the list of guest co-hosts on Disney-ABC’s syndicated morning talk show Live! With Kelly, which will use a rotating schedule to fill the seat of star … Read More »
Disney’s announcement with Netflix this morning extends and expands a current deal, giving the streaming service rights to several shows 30 days after the last episode of the season airs. The one with Amazon is new and includes more than 800 library episodes. Both include prior seasons of Grey’s Anatomy and all episodes of Lost. They also both landed ABC Family’s The Secret Life Of The American Teenager and Phineas and Ferb. Beyond that there are a lot of differences, with Amazon landing prior seasons of Marvel’s animated shows including X-Men Evolution and Netflix getting ABC Studios’ Army Wives. Here’s the release for Netflix:
BEVERLY HILLS and BURBANK, Calif., Oct. 31, 2011 — Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Disney-ABC Television Group today announced that they recently entered into an extension of their previous existing licensing agreement. The extension allows Netflix to continue to stream hundreds of library episodes from ABC Studios, Disney Channel and ABC Family over the Internet. As part of the deal, Netflix is also adding new content to its lineup of Disney-ABC series and TV movies.
The agreement adds to the growing selection of content that can be streamed from Netflix in the United States. Episodes from new seasons of current Disney-ABC series will be made available to Netflix 30-days after the last episode of each season airs. Among the series and TV movies extended as part of the deal include:
Read More »
Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television Group, says that TV is about to become the most personal medium in the world, as well as the most powerful. Giving her MIPCOM keynote speech in Cannes this afternoon, Sweeney predicted that TV will be ever more customized by a generation used to watching on smartphones, laptops and tablets. Sweeney said: “It may be impossible to predict what television will look like 5 or 10 years from now — because the odds are, it will look different to everybody.” She also touched on how young people increasingly tweet, blog and email about shows as they watch them. “The more personalized television gets, the less passive the experience will become,” she said. “Television has always been something you watch. Now, increasingly, it’s also something you do.” The Disney-ABC TV boss presented some eye-popping figures: The global TV audience will reach nearly 4 billion people by the end of 2011 –- roughly half of the world’s population. And those 3.7 billion people will watch a total of 4.5 trillion hours of TV this year. She also underlined TV’s importance by quoting approvingly from a recent Deloitte study that concluded, “In today’s world, TV is the medium around which all others revolve.” Here’s the full transcript of Sweeney’s speech:
From the beginning, the television business has always been forward looking – to the next episode, the next season, the next advance in technology that will change everything and take us to a new level.
That’s why I was drawn to it in the first place…and why I continue to love it.
Read More »
Thousands of TV executives from around the world are en route to Cannes for the annual MIPCOM market, which starts on Monday. The great majority of them, who are flying into the nearby Nice airport, were greeted by a group of Pan Am stewardesses — a promotion for the new … Read More »
Broadcasting & Cable today published a long interview with Disney/ABC TV Chief Anne Sweeney (subscription required), and here is what’s interesting:
– The “one piece of talent” on the air whom she doesn’t have currently and wants? Why, the Viscount Of … Read More »
The London-based production company Celador that created Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? tells me it may go after the Hollywood talent agency with a lawsuit. Celador has just won a $269 million court case against Disney/ABC, which aired the U.S. version … Read More »