Disney is unifying some of its marketing and PR divisions in a bid to better break down silos within the company.
In a memo to staff Wednesday, Shannon Ryan, president of content marketing for Hulu and general entertainment, revealed a reorganization within her group to further its content-first approach in order to create a more holistic team.
Naomi Bulochnikov, Erin Weir, Barrie Gruner as well as Aaron Goldman and Spencer Peeples have all been promoted and will take on new responsibilities, continuing to report to Ryan.
Bulochnikov, the former Freeform PR boss who moved to the top role at ABC in late 2019, will continue to lead communications for the network’s entertainment division and will add oversight of ABC News, Disney Television Studios (including ABC Signature and 20th Television), Freeform and syndication to her purview. Teams at each respective division will now report to Bulochnikov. The move reunites Bulochnikov with Karey Burke, the former Freeform head of originals who was promoted to ABC Entertainment president and, last year, moved to oversee 20th Television. Bulochnikov will now work directly with both Burke and Craig Erwich, who continues to oversee Hulu as well as ABC Entertainment.
Goldman, who leads ABC Entertainment’s creative strategy, will also oversee a creative center of excellence for all brands. Weir will continue to oversee campaign planning for ABC Entertainment and add Disney TV Studios, ABC News and syndication. Gruner will remain the lead of marketing and PR for Hulu originals and the recently launched Onyx Collective.
“This new structure will allow us to break down silos so we can better support our teams and vast content portfolio,” Ryan wrote in her memo (read it in full, below). “By unifying the marketing and PR areas across all of our great brands, we will establish clarity for our organization, foster greater collaboration and create even more opportunities for all of us to succeed.”
The moves come nearly a year after Peter Rice restructured Disney’s general entertainment division and moved from its longtime legacy structure in favor of creating centralized groups that are instead focused on content. That means that departments including marketing, publicity, scheduling and media planning are being consolidated into three distinct groups overseen by Shannon Ryan (Hulu and linear networks), former Twitter head of global creative Jayanta Jenkins (Disney+) and Stephanie Gibbons (FX/FX on Hulu).
Here’s Ryan’s memo to staff:
First and foremost, I wanted to share how grateful I am to all of you for your collective spirit, resilience and perseverance over the past 19 months. Your commitment to not just your work, but also to each other, over the course of so much disruption in our industry, has been astounding to see. As we look to our future and continue to build on our incredible momentum, we are now taking the next step to bring our agency into focus, furthering our content-first business approach, and leveraging our collective expertise to market all of our programming more holistically. This new structure will allow us to break down silos so we can better support our teams and vast content portfolio. By unifying the marketing and PR areas across all of our great brands, we will establish clarity for our organization, foster greater collaboration and create even more opportunities for all of us to succeed.
Here is how we are evolving our organization:
Naomi Bulochnikov, SVP, Communications & Publicity, ABC & General Entertainment, will continue to lead Communications, Publicity, and Events for ABC Entertainment, and will add ABC News, Disney Television Studios, Freeform and Syndication to her purview. She will work closely with leadership and corporate communications on strategy and messaging. In addition to her ABC team, Chris Alexander, Van Scott, Kim Harbin, and Kristen Andersen and their teams will now report to Naomi.
Aaron Goldman, EVP, Creative Marketing, ABC & General Entertainment, will continue to lead ABC Entertainment’s Creative, including Creative Strategy, On and Off-Air Design, Marketing Production, and A/V Creative. Additionally, Aaron will lead a Creative Center of Excellence (COE) for all brands within our agency. At ABC, Jill Gershman will now report to Aaron directly, as will Melissa King who will be stepping into Aaron’s previous role. The creative teams within ABC News, Freeform, Hulu Originals, and Onyx will report dotted line to Aaron as part of the COE.
Erin Weir, EVP, Marketing, ABC & General Entertainment, will continue to lead Campaign Planning and Strategy, Experiential, Digital, and Owned Assets for ABC Entertainment and will now also add Disney Television Studios, ABC News, and Syndication to her oversight. In addition to her current ABC team, Steven Melnick, Alan Ives, and Tom Connor and their teams will join her organization.
Barrie Gruner, EVP, Hulu Originals Marketing & Publicity, will lead Marketing and Publicity for Hulu Originals and Onyx Collective, including Strategy, Campaign Management, Communications, Creative, Media, Social, Events and Talent Relations. Spencer Peeples, SVP, Hulu Originals Marketing & Awards, will report into Barrie along with his team. He will also lead an Awards Center of Excellence (COE) for all content brands in our portfolio. The Awards leads across all brands will report dotted line into Spencer.
Joe Ortiz, SVP, Marketing, Freeform will continue to lead all Marketing and Strategy for Freeform, including Creative, On and Off-Air Design, Digital, Experiential, and Owned Assets.
Kristen Graham, SVP, Talent Relations, and her team will continue leading Talent Relations for ABC Entertainment.
Please join me in congratulating Naomi, Aaron, Erin, Barrie and Spencer on their newly expanded roles. I’ve had the privilege of working very closely with these exceptional and thoughtful leaders, and know they will continue to foster an environment that will enable all of you to thrive, think big and do your best work ever. In the coming weeks, they will be reaching out to work with you on any pertinent next steps and transition plans.
We have already accomplished so much: Hulu Originals is having the best year in its history with Nine Perfect Strangers as our most watched drama, Only Murders in the Building as our most watched comedy, and The D’Amelio Show as our most watched unscripted series; ABC has been the #1 entertainment network for the past two consecutive seasons – for the first time in 25 years; ABC News out-performed its competitors on all programs and platforms last season, and was responsible for the #1 morning show (GMA), #1 Daytime Talk Show (The View), Friday’s #1 News Magazine (20/20) and the #1 Evening Newscast (World News Tonight with David Muir); Freeform currently ranks as the #1 cable network in entertainment this fall; and Disney Television Studios produces the #1 scripted series on 10 platforms.
I hope you are all as proud as I am everyday of these incredible accomplishments – they are nothing short of extraordinary. And I’m confident that this new structure will give us the opportunity to increase our strength by allowing us to work more closely together across our agency.
I’m excited and energized to start this transformational next chapter with the most impressive marketing and communications team in the business. Thank you so much for your dedication. I’m so proud to be part of this stellar group, so appreciative to be working alongside all of you every step of the way and I can’t wait to see what we all do next!
Please feel free to reach out to your manager or HR business partner with any questions, and I’m here if you need anything at all.