Janice Marinelli’s duties have been expanded at Disney, where she previously served as president of Disney-ABC domestic television distribution.
According to Disney’s press release: “In the new organization, Marinelli will lead a new North American In-Home Sales organization for Media Networks and Studio content, reporting to Bob Chapek, The Walt Disney Studios’ president of distribution and Ben Pyne, president of global distribution for Disney Media Networks. The team will be responsible for distributing film and TV content (Disney, Pixar, Marvel, DreamWorks, ABC, ABC Family and Disney Channels properties), as well as first-run content of The Walt Disney Company across the video/retail, TV, and digital platforms. This includes negotiating licensed deals and output agreements with traditional and digital platforms.”
Disney also made two other executive changes, expanding the roles of Lori MacPherson and Jason Brenek. MacPherson will lead global product management for Walt Disney Studios Distribution, while Brenek will “oversee the new International In-Home Sales organization and collaborate with key international constituents in the development of program and sales strategies to distribute film content.”
Distribution remains an important and profitable division for the major studios, but the way distribution operates has changed dramatically in the digital age. Studios used to rely on back-end domestic syndication and international sales to drive profits, but today, they also have to consider DVD, Blue-Ray, on-line, subscription, mobile, video-on-demand, pay-per-view, and other platforms.
Over the past few years, Disney-ABC has been less and less active in domestic syndication, particularly in the development of first-run syndicated shows. The studio’s last major first-run effort was the weekend action hour, Legend of the Seeker, which was canceled in its second season.
Disney-ABC still produces and distributes Live with Regis and Kelly and Who Wants to be a Millionaire for first-run syndication, and the studios also distributes off-net shows, such as Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives, to TV stations.