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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.

Trump sues New York Times and his niece over tax report

Former President Trump hosting a boxing match in Hollywood, Florida on Sept. 11. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump on Tuesday over the news outlet's 2018 reporting on his tax records, the Daily Beast first reported.

Details: The suit, filed in New York's Dutchess County, alleges NYT journalists "engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records" and that they "convinced" Mary Trump to "smuggle records out of her attorney's office and turn them over to The Times."

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queirog has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."