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Photo: Disney

Disney shares were up nearly 5% in after-hours trading Monday after the entertainment giant announced it would be shifting its entertainment strategy to have streaming be its "primary focus."

Why it matters: The company is facing investor pressure to invest more in streaming, its strongest-performing sector. Its other business lines, like movies, parks and cable, are being heavily impacted by the pandemic.

Details: The company will rearrange its structure to focus on developing and producing original content for its streaming services (Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+), as well as for its legacy TV networks.

  • The new Media and Entertainment Distribution group will be headed by Kareem Daniel, formerly president of Disney's Consumer Products, Games and Publishing division.
  • The three groups that will produce content for linear, TV and film will be Studios, General Entertainment and Sports. Leaders of those groups, as well as Daniel, will report directly to Bob Chapek, CEO of Disney.
  • Studios will be led by Alan F. Horn and Alan Bergman, co-chairmen of Walt Disney Studios. Their new titles will be chairmen, Studios Content.
  • General Entertainment will be led by Peter Rice, who came to Disney through its acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox in 2019. His new title will be chairman, General Entertainment Content
  • Sports will be led by ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro. His new title will be chairman, ESPN and Sports Content.

Between the lines: With the announcement, Disney says that the company's parks and resorts division will remain the same and that its streaming and international division will be led by Rebecca Campbell, who will serve as chairman.

The big picture: Prior to the pandemic, Disney's business was soaring. But now, the company's movies, parks and resorts and cable businesses are facing some of the strongest pandemic-related headwinds in the entertainment industry.

  • The company recently laid off 28,000 people at its theme parks and experiences and consumer products divisions as a result of park closures in California and partial reopenings around the world.
  • Its blockbuster live-action remake of the Disney classic "Mulan" was made available to Disney streaming subscribers last month due to paltry theater attendance and closed venues, but the company never revealed how it fared with streaming. Future films, like its new Pixar animated series "Soul," will also debut via streaming.
  • Advertising revenues from its cable networks continue to experience declines due to pandemic-related pressure to the advertising market.

Go deeper

Dec 16, 2020 - Economy & Business

Roku and AT&T reach agreement to distribute HBO Max

Photo Illustration: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

After a months-long battle, Roku and AT&T have finally reached an agreement to distribute AT&T's streaming service HBO Max.

Why it matters: Until now, Roku was the only TV platform that did not carry HBO Max. AT&T struck a deal to distribute HBO's on-demand subscription video service on Amazon Fire devices and Prime Video channels in November.

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.