The Walt Disney Co. has put studio executive Ricky Strauss in charge of content and marketing for the much-anticipated Disney-branded direct-to-consumer subscription video-on-demand service set to launch late next year.
Strauss, who had been president of marketing for The Walt Disney Studios, will be president, content, for the SVOD service and will report to Kevin Mayer, chair, Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International.
The new DTC is a key initiative for Disney, which is looking to compete with Netflix in the streaming space. Acquiring content for DTC products is a driver behind Disney’s effort to acquire assets from 21st Century Fox, including its TV and movie studios.
Strauss will be in charge of developing the strategic content vision for the service, overseeing development of the service's original programming slate, production partnerships and content acquisitions, Disney said.
Original content for the service will come from The Walt Disney Studios, Disney-ABC Television Group, Disney Digital Media, Pixar Animation, Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm.
"Ricky’s vast knowledge of content production and marketing combined with an astute awareness of how audiences connect with the Disney brand is unmatched,” said Mayer. “His creativity, passion and the deep industry relationships he has cultivated over many years will surely strengthen our ability to successfully launch and grow our upcoming SVOD product into an unparalleled content experience and the must-have streaming service for families and fans of The Walt Disney Company’s high-quality entertainment.”
Agnes Chu will continue in a key leadership position as senior VP of content for the service, reporting to Strauss.
Strauss will also be responsible for all facets of content marketing for the service, while Michael Paull, president, Disney Streaming Services, will be responsible for product, technology, distribution, customer acquisition, and lifecycle marketing.
“It has been such a privilege to be a part of The Walt Disney Studios team these past six years in a role that provided me the opportunity to work with incredibly talented individuals on amazing projects that go beyond anything I could have ever imagined,” said Strauss. “It is with great anticipation that I begin this next chapter with Disney’s new Direct-to-Consumer and International segment, under Kevin’s leadership. I look forward to collaborating with the many talented content creators around the Company to expand the exceptional collection of assets that will make up the future Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service.”