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Disney forms international content group, getting ready for streaming push

In this photo illustration, the Disney + logo is displayed on a smartphone screen. Is a subscription service for online video streaming owned and operated by Direct-to-Consumer & International, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.

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The Walt Disney Company seeks to lure more global subscribers to its trio of streaming services.

On Wednesday, the entertainment giant said it had formed an international content group to expand its pipeline in local and regional markets. This group will be assisted by Disney streaming director Rebecca Campbell, who will report directly to CEO Bob Chapek in the recently expanded role of chairman, international content and operations.

Fantastic content is what drives the success of our streaming services, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to work even more closely with the talented creators of our international markets, who are producing new stories of local relevance to delight our audiences across the board. the globe, "Campbell said in a statement.

While Disney has seen the number of subscribers grow steadily over the past few months, the explosive adoption it saw during the pandemic has slowed. During the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended October 2, 2021, Disney added only 2.1 million subscribers to Disney +, down from 12.6 million in the previous quarter.

Still, when it reported those numbers in November, Chapek reiterated the company's goal of reaching 230 million to 260 million Disney + subscribers by 2024.

The company revealed on Wednesday that its total global subscriptions across Disney +, ESPN + and Hulu had peaked at $ 179 million by the end of fiscal year 2021. It is unclear how the total number is distributed between the three services.

Disney seeks to more than double the number of countries where its Disney + service is available by fiscal year 2023. The hope is that by reaching more than 160 countries within that time frame, the company can increase its subscriber base high enough to reach its global goal by 2024

However, it will not be able to generate significant sign-ups without offering these regions unique and organized content. Disney has already invested in the creation of original local and regional content, with more than 340 titles already in various stages of development and production.

As part of Wednesday's announcement, Disney promoted Michael Paull to the newly created role of president of Disney streaming. He will oversee all three of the company's platforms globally under Kareem Daniel's Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution division.

Joe Earley, who previously served as executive vice president of branding and operations for Disney +, has been selected to take over as president of Hulu. An as yet unnamed new head of Disney + will take over from Paull, while Russell Wolff will continue to serve as head of ESPN +. The three streaming heads will all report directly to Paull.

"Disney's direct-to-consumer efforts have evolved at a tremendous pace in just a few short years, and our organization continues to grow and evolve in support of our ambitious global streaming strategy," Chapek said in a statement.

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