Jun 16, 2020 - Economy & Business

Disney consolidates advertising tech teams

Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images.

Disney has consolidated all its advertising technology teams under one unit led by former Hulu advertising lead Jeremy Helfand, executives tell Axios. It will be housed within Disney's direct-to-consumer arm, which also encompasses its streaming division.

Why it matters: It's a sign of maturation for the company. Disney hadn't yet fully integrated all of its advertising technology since having acquired most of 21st Century Fox last year and having launched new streaming properties, like Disney+ and ESPN+.

Details: The new unit will make it easier for advertisers to buy ads consistently across all Disney products, whether traditional television, streaming or digital.

  • It will also work to develop and refine new ad products that make sense for 21st century TV viewing, like binge ads.
  • In a conversation with Axios, Aaron LaBerge, executive vice president and CTO of DTCI Technology (Disney's streaming and international division), said that the consolidation will make it easier for advertisers to manage, measure and optimize their ad campaigns across all of Disney's brands.
  • He also says that the realignment will not result in any layoffs.

Be smart: The creation of the team comes as Disney and other networks have begun courting advertisers for the fall programming season.

  • Disney hosted its annual "Upfront" presentation virtually this year via a series of presentations to ad agencies in May. Hulu will live stream its annual "NewFronts" presentation for advertisers later this month.

Advertising is a huge part Disney's business, and the company sees advertising technology as its secret to unlocking more ad revenue.

  • Having different teams working on different ad products then taking them individually to market got confusing for advertisers and made it hard for them to have one consistent relationship with Disney as a brand.
  • Disney's competitors have also been trying to solve this issue by unifying their ad products and platforms. NBCUniversal, for example, debuted a new, unified advertising technology suite called One Platform this year ahead of Upfronts as well.

The big picture: Disney is expected to lose over $1 billion this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. While much of that is attributable to its parks and resorts division, its TV and digital networks will also be heavily affected by advertisers cutting down on marketing spend to survive the virus's economic upheaval.

Go deeper