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Disney reorg to further bolster company’s focus on streaming

Disney said today that it is reorganizing its business units to focus even more on streaming.

The company said in August that its Disney Plus service has more than 60 million subscribers, and subscribers to its main combination of streaming services — Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and Hulu — top 100 million. It still plans to launch another international streaming service called Star.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit box-office revenue by closing many theaters. Disney has released several major titles on streaming services that would traditionally have appeared at cinemas, like a live-action remake of “Mulan” and the upcoming Pixar film “Soul” that will hit Disney Plus at Christmas. Americans continue to drop their cable subscriptions, affecting the company’s TV networks.

So the company is creating three content arms, one each for sports, general entertainment and its studios, which have famous brands including Star Wars and Marvel. Their primary focus will be on making shows and movies for streaming services, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement. Meanwhile, a new distribution group will centralize how the content is sold and oversee streaming operations.

Disney’s are among a slew of new streaming services from tech and entertainment companies — like NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max — that are challenging Netflix for consumers’ attention and money. Disney Plus is considered one of the most successful so far.

Disney shares rose 5.6% in after-market trading on the news.

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