Less than a day into his second run as Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger told employees last November that he was planning to restructure key parts of the company in order to walk back some of the changes implemented by his predecessor, Bob Chapek. Now, the shape of that restructuring is beginning to become more clear ahead of the company’s next earnings report, and it sounds like a round of layoffs is on the way.
Deadline reports that Disney is contemplating how it might consolidate a number of its different TV production arms, as well as merge its marketing departments as part of a larger initiative to get on top of the company’s accounting concerns. Disney’s also reportedly moving forward with its plan to dissolve its Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution division (DMED) — which oversees Disney’s ad tech, content operations / platforms, and other core parts of its streaming business — following Iger’s move to fire its former chief exec Kareem Daniel last fall.
Bob Iger wants to move away from the Chapek-era chain of command
In the past, production companies overseeing Disney projects were required to pay for their production costs upfront and then seek out their reimbursement from the DMED, leaving all of those financial losses concentrated on the department’s books. Moving away from that kind of structure could, in theory, improve Wall Street’s outlook on the company.
According to Deadline’s sources, much of the restructuring talk stems from a desire to move away from the Chapek-era chain of command that consolidated much of the company’s distribution decision-making power within the DMED under Daniel, a Chapek supporter. It’s not currently clear what will happen to the DMED’s remaining executives, though the branch’s functions will be picked up by other parts of the company.
It’s also not clear exactly how Disney might streamline Disney Television Studios, which consists of 20th Television, 20th Television Animation, ABC Signature, FX Productions, Searchlight Television, and Walt Disney Television Alternative. Any move to bring the TV arms even closer together would likely mean more layoffs at Disney, an unfortunate consequence of the company’s focus on cutting costs and trying to bolster the strength of its stock.