Disney Melds Global Units

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Echoing a move it had made domestically, Disney has established a new global distribution arm for movies, television shows and children's programs, among other content.

The entertainment giant is consolidating several divisions within Disney-ABC Worldwide Television and Walt Disney Studios in an effort to streamline distribution to cable, satellite, broadband and mobile platforms.

The approach is similar to the one the company adopted in the United States, where it aligned ABC, ESPN and Disney Channel under one affiliate marketing group.

The restructuring news came as Disney-ABC Worldwide Television president Laurie Younger said she will retire when her contract ends next January. Younger will assist in the transitioning of the new unit, providing counsel to its management team.

Ben Pyne, president of Disney and ESPN Networks affiliate sales and marketing, will lead the new group and report to Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group, and Alan Bergman, president of The Walt Disney Studios.

For domestic responsibilities concerning ESPN, Pyne will continue to report to ESPN and ABC Sports executive vice president of sales and marketing Sean Bratches. He will also work closely with Walt Disney International president Andy Bird.

In addition, David Preschlack was promoted to executive vice president of Disney and ESPN Networks affiliate sales and marketing. He will continue reporting to Pyne and work with Bratches on all ESPN-related affiliate matters.

As president of global distribution, Disney-ABC Worldwide Television and Disney Media Networks, Pyne will assume chief responsibility for the international distribution and sales of Disney's portfolio of entertainment and news content, including theatricals, TV series, children's programming, telefilms, miniseries, news documentaries, TV animation and direct-to-video content. He will also oversee domestic distribution of television content handled by Disney-ABC Domestic Television, as well as lead ABC Television Network's affiliate relations department.

Formerly senior vice president of Disney and ESPN affiliate sales and marketing, Preschlack will oversee Pyne's previous areas of responsibility, including direction of all affiliate distribution, relations and marketing, as well as local ad sales for the company's U.S. cable and satellite networks. He will also oversee U.S. distribution of related HDTV, broadband, video-on-demand, subscription-VOD, interactive-TV, pay-per-view, Spanish-language and sports-syndication products.

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