Disney Revamps Global TV Unit as Younger Sets Retirement Date

Jun 20, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The Walt Disney Co. has formed an integrated global television distribution unit, following the announcement that Disney-ABC Worldwide Television President Laurie Younger will retire in January.
The new division will combine several existing distribution-focused departments under the leadership of Ben Pyne, who has been promoted to president of global distribution for Disney-ABC Worldwide Television and Disney Media Networks. He had been president of Disney & ESPN Networks affiliate sales and marketing.
In his new role, Mr. Pyne will be charged with the international distribution and sales of the portfolio of entertainment and news content produced by the Walt Disney Co., including all feature films, television series, children’s programming, made-for-TV movies and miniseries. He also will be responsible for distribution to all platforms, including video-on-demand and broadband markets.
He will oversee domestic distribution of the company’s television content handled by Disney-ABC Domestic Television and will assume responsibility for the ABC Television Network’s affiliate relations department.
Mr. Pyne will report to Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group, and to Alan Bergman, president of the Walt Disney Studios.
“I’m honored that the company has entrusted me with this amazing opportunity, and I’m looking forward to getting started,” Mr. Pyne said. “Laurie has built an amazingly rich division with incredibly talented people already in place, and I look forward to working alongside each of them as we continue to build a world-class distribution and sales team.”
With Mr. Pyne’s promotion, David Preschlack has been named executive VP, Disney & ESPN Networks affiliate sales and marketing. He takes over Mr. Pyne’s previous responsibilities, including direction of all affiliate distribution, affiliate relations, affiliate marketing and local ad sales for the U.S. cable and satellite networks of the Walt Disney Co., including ABC Family, Disney Channel, SOAPnet and the ESPN channels. He also will be in charge of U.S. distribution of related HDTV, broadband, video-on-demand, subscription video-on-demand, interactive television, pay-per-view, Spanish-language and sports syndication product.
“David is an exceptionally talented, strategically-minded executive with a rich history at the company,” said Mr. Pyne. “He has been a catalyst behind the many distribution gains and promotional initiatives that have made the Disney and ESPN Networks affiliate sales and marketing team an industry leader in recent years.”
Despite her retirement, Ms. Younger will help transition to the new structure and will be available to provide counsel to the management team.
“This decision was not arrived at lightly, nor is it one that comes without some real sadness regarding the amazing people I’m leaving behind,” Ms. Younger said. “For 20-plus years, I have had the privilege of touching every aspect of the television business, and now seems the appropriate time to start the next chapter and explore some new avenues.”
(Editor: Horowitz)


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