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Disney Media Distribution chief Ben Pyne to end 25-year innings

MUMBAI: After being part of the company for 25 years, Disney Media Distribution president Ben Pyne has announced his plans to leave Disney.

The announcement was made today by Disney/ABC business operations president Bruce Rosenblum. Pyne will stay on in his role through the summer to aide in the transition.

Rosenblum said, “Ben’s reputation in our industry is second-to-none. What he’s built here at Disney, and what he’s been able to accomplish over the past 25 years, is truly remarkable. While we’ll be sad to see him leave, we’re excited to see what his next chapter holds.”

Commented Pyne, “I am honoured to have had such an amazing career at The Walt Disney Company, which has been rich with unique experiences and incredible accomplishments, and prepared me well for my next opportunity. It has been a special privilege to help build and grow brands, networks and programming that touch and enrich the lives of viewers all around the world. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to work with fantastic people both at Disney, across the wider industry, as well as around the world, and I would like to thank them all for their passion, commitment and hard work.”

In his current role, Pyne has chief responsibility for the global distribution and sales of the far-reaching portfolio of entertainment and news content produced by The Walt Disney Company. This includes traditional television programming and short-form content – and their distribution to all platforms, including video-on-demand (VOD) and broadband platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and iTunes. Rounding out Pyne’s duties are responsibilities for The ABC Television Network’s Affiliate Relations department, including retransmission opportunities.

Additionally, he sits on Hulu’s board of directors as a representative of The Walt Disney Company, and is also a board member of the T. Howard Foundation and CTAM Educational Foundation.

Throughout his tenure at Disney, Pyne accomplished numerous substantial distribution achievements. Under his guidance, Disney Channel transitioned from a small pay cable channel to the successful global service.

Pyne joined the company in 1992 and since then the company’s distribution has grown from 6.5 million US subscribers to nearly 100 million US households. It also gained an additional 500 million subscribers to over 107 international Disney Channels that have been launched in the past 20+ years.

Pyne has played a leading role in the negotiating key deals with major US and global distributors. He was a chief architect in the ABC Owned Station retransmission consent strategy and the network’s “clearinghouse” initiative, which has further strengthened ABC’s relationship with its broadcast affiliates. He has also been instrumental in securing unique VOD and subscription VOD deals, which included the popular subscription service Disney Channel On Demand and ABC’s fast forward-disabled VOD offering, a first for the US television industry dating back to 2007.

His team also oversaw affiliate-related aspects of the rebrand of Toon Disney to Disney XD, and has increased the distribution of Disney Media Network’s mobile video distribution business exponentially. He was integral to the 2013 launch of WATCH ABC, the US television industry’s first live linear and on-demand authenticated local broadcast TV Everywhere service, including the 2012 launches of the 24/7 linear channel for preschoolers, Disney Junior.

In June 2007, Pyne was named president, global distribution, Disney Media Networks. He worked with teams around the world and WDI to create an integrated distribution team known today as Disney Media Distribution. It resulted in growth of sales revenue related to Disney|ABC series across more than 240 territories, and also saw the launch of a broad range of new distribution activities and branded services across broadcast, pay, digital and subscription video-on-demand platforms, including the growth of newer subscription video-on-demand services around the globe, including ABC Studios on Demand, Disney Movies on Demand and Hot from the US.