Walt Disney Co merges ESPN, Disney and Maker Studios sales teams

Walt Disney Co has merged its seperate sales teams for its ESPN, Disney and Maker Studios brands into a single unit.

The 14-strong team has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland, and aims to help advertisers buy integrated deals across the brand portfolio.

Haydn Arndt and Nik Weber at the Disney ESPN event last night

Kylie Watson Wheeler, MD of Walt Disney Co in Australia described the change as a “single point of entry” to all three areas – Disney, ESPN, and Maker Studios.

“Today we are delighted to announce a new alignment, a single point of entry to access all three areas. Disney ESPN media sales and partnerships is now officially open for business. A newly formed group that will guide media buyers and partners on a seamless path to reach targeted audiences through our breadth of channels,” she told the audience at a launch event in Sydney.

The organisation’s movie portfolio includes Four Marvel films, two Star Wars films and two animated Pixar films. She said: “Our TV, digital and social media platforms will all support these releases, all doing endless opportunities to leverage, to tell your story.”

Speaking with Mumbrella after the announcement, Haydn Arndt, general manager of ESPN Australia and New Zealand said it made sense to integrate the team.

“We used to have three separate ad teams, so there was a maker sales team, there was a Disney team there was an ESPN team and we got to a point where it didn’t seem smart to have three people going into the same agency on the same day,” he explained.

“The more you look at the demos and the brands that within Disney and ESPN, it kind of makes a  lot of sense to say ‘you know what – at the same time as you’re advertising on or Footy Tips or any of our digital sites or television, you can just as easily create content around Star Wars, around Marvel.'”

Nik Weber, head of sales at at the newly merged team, said having a key point of contact was important to drive conversations for agencies and marketers..

Weber said: “There’s a real breadth and depth to the impact ESPN and Disney brands have on the Australian household. We reach over 4m every month across our ESPN digital and television networks, and almost 4m across our Disney channels and websites.”

“When you cover this with the social media influencers that come with the Maker network, what you have is a really highly engaged and compelled audience at scale.”

Later he told Mumbrella: “What our business is really good at is storytelling and from a sales standpoint we are really transitioning from being a standard kind of advertising display or spots and dots network, to really having deeply integrated content for our advertisers.”

There will be no redundancies as a result of the merging teams.


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