Disney CEO Bob Iger has named not one but two new executives to oversee the Disney Interactive Media Group. Former Yahoo Vice President and Head of Media James Pitaro and Playdom CEO John Pleasantswill oversee Disney Interactive as "co-presidents," each managing half of the group's businesses, beginning October 18. They are replacing former President Steve Wadsworth, who announced his departure on September 24.
Pitaro will oversee Disney Online, Disney's branded Web and social media sites. Pleasants will oversee Disney's overall games strategy, including console, mobile, virtual worlds, and online games. The Disney Interactive Media Group has posted $130 million in losses for the first nine months of 2010, making it the company's only unprofitable division. The restructuring is designed to make the two halves of Disney Interactive more responsive and focused businesses.
The new division marks another major structural change for Disney's digital media businesses. Initially, Disney maintained one division to handle console games and had all other digital businesses handled by the Walt Disney Interactive Group under Wadsworth. It was during Wadsworth's 17-year tenure that the console game business was merged with the WDIG, to form the current Disney Interactive Media Group. This will be the first time Disney operates an integrated games unit and a largely separate Web content unit.
In an interview following the announcement, Iger stated that the controversial Club Penguin acquisition had exceeded expectations for Disney. Total number of subscribers, according to Iger, increased from 750,000 to 1.7 million since the acquisition. Disney purchased Club Penguin in 2007 for $350 million with an optional $350 million earnout that might have been awarded earlier this year. Club Penguin failed to meet the performance targets for that earnout, however.
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