In an email to staff, Albert Cheng has announced that he plans to leave the Disney/ABC Television Group in May, stating that “after fifteen years at The Walt Disney Company and much contemplation over the past 18 months, I have come to the decision that it is time for me to move on” and “to do something completely new.”
No replacement has been announced.
Cheng most recently served as executive VP and chief product officer Disney/ABC Television Group and had overseen the launch of a number of ground breaking digital products during the last decade.
After Cheng was put in charge of a newly formed digital media group in 2005, ABC became the first to make full ad-supported episodes available for free online in May 2006; it was the first to make full episodes available on demand on a mobile platform in May of 2007; the first to stream episodes in HD in the fall of 2007 and it was an early innovator in the development of synch or second screen apps.
In 2010, it was also the first U.S. broadcaster to make full episodes of primetime shows available on an iPad App and in 2013 it was the first broadcast network to launch a 24-hour feed with the Watch ABC App.
They were also an early proponent of making live network feeds available as part of TV everywhere deals.
In a note to staff, Cheng thanked Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger, the former head of the Disney/ABC Television Group Anne Sweeney and the digital media team for their support in carrying out the group’s wide-ranging roadmap.
Cheng also thanked Ben Pyne, who first hired him at the company, and noted that “I’m very appreciative of Ben Sherwood’s leadership, guidance and support in the last few years, particularly for his understanding around this very personal decision of mine to do something completely new.”