Disney restructures ESPN remote operations and ABC News production operations under technology division DMED

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Dave Johnson and Chris Lawson take on key leadership roles in engineering and operations at Disney, while Chris Calcinari and Chris Cupo also get expanded roles

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED), ESPN and ABC News have announced a restructuring of their operations teams into a unified global function, which will sit within the DMED Technology organization (under DMED CTO Aaron Laberge) and support all company brands.

This functional unification began last year with all US-based studio and network operations teams, as well as content transmission, preparation and packaging functions and international operations (non-US). ). Today, ESPN’s Remote Operations Group and ABC News’ Production Operations Team will join the DMED Content Operations Group, under the leadership of Chris Lawson (Sr. VP, Content Operations, which reports to LaBerge).

As has been the case in other areas, the production, content and creative teams at ESPN and ABC News will continue to lead content and creative decision-making and define requirements. DMED’s Global Content Operations organization will be responsible for working closely with the content teams and providing technology and operational support for studio and remote operations for all TWDC content teams, in the whole world.

These changes also include changes to the DMED Media Engineering team – which works closely with content operations, to develop solutions, identify opportunities and implement innovations in approaches and infrastructure. David Johnson – who served as interim head of DMED Media Engineering – assumes the leadership role on a permanent basis, as DMED continues to modernize and innovate its engineering systems, infrastructure and approaches.

Under Chris Lawson, DMED Content Operations will be structured to support this as follows:

  • Production Operations – led by Chris Calcinari: DMED combines production and creative operations functions, across studio, remote and REMI operations, as well as news, program and traffic operations. Calcinari joins DMED Technology from ESPN, where he led remote operations since 2008. Calcinari and the Production Operations team will continue to have day-to-day accountability to all of Disney’s content creation partners, including the production teams. ESPN (under Tina Thornton), ABC News (under Derek Medina) and across Disney’s other brands and businesses.
  • Technical Services – led by Michael Cupo: DMED consolidates all engineering-related operations functions, including network origination, transmission operations and media services under Michael Cupo, who takes on a new and expanded role. Cupo worked for The Walt Disney Company for a combined 21 years over three stints, most recently heading strategic transmission and DMED technology operations.
  • Creative Services – led by Doug Levy: Doug Levy will continue in his current tenure to lead production and post-production creative services operations for clients such as FX, Freeform and Disney Branded Entertainment within content operations.
  • Distribution Operations – led by Barrie Godwin: The distribution operations team under Barrie Godwin remains unchanged. Godwin and this team continue to be responsible for delivering consolidated assets to all of Disney’s direct-to-consumer and third-party endpoints. This includes all mastering services, distribution planning, localization operations, release management, maintenance, packaging and execution.
  • Business Analytics and BRM will be led by Holly Lutkenhousewho takes on an expanded role
  • Workflow transformation will be led by Marcy Lefkovitzwho assumes an expanded role

Under Dave Johnson in DMED Media Engineering:

  • Johnson’s team from ABC News joins the Production Systems Technology Team, Technology and Engineering Teams (excluding Live Desk), Audio Engineering and Technical Teams based in Washington D.C. .
  • Brian Kennedy will remain with ABC News, but will work closely with Johnson over the coming months during this transition.
  • Kevin Plumb continues to fulfill his key global leadership role under Dave’s leadership.

According to the company’s announcement, these changes allow Disney to leverage the skills and knowledge of its various segments for the benefit of each other and the company as a whole; develop, support and operate truly global platforms and systems and provide opportunities for its employees to explore, grow and contribute more broadly to the broader business.