Disney is hiring former Sky CMO Luke Bradley-Jones to run its new subscription service, Disney+, in Europe and Africa as it ramps up focus on its direct-to-consumer business.
Jones will join as senior vice-president of direct-to-consumer and general manager of Disney+ in Europe and Africa. Based in London, he will start in early 2020 and report into both Jan Koeppen, president of TV and direct-to-consumer in the region, and Michael Paull, president of Disney streaming services.
The move comes as Disney ramps up efforts to support its new subscription service as it looks to take on Netflix in the rapidly growing market. Disney’s CEO Bob Iger has called Disney+ “its most important product launch during his tenure”; he became CEO in 2005.
Disney+ is set to launch in the US on 12 November, with a launch campaign rolling out from the end of August. The date for a UK launch is yet to be announced. Disney hopes its strong content brands, which include Marvel, Pixar and National Geographic, as well as exclusive new content will help attract subscribers.
Disney is one of a slew of companies hoping to tap into growing demand for online video streaming services. In the UK, the latest figures from Ofcom show 47% of UK households are now signed up to a streaming platform, up from 39% a year ago.
The amount of time spent watching streaming services is also rising, increasing by seven minutes last year to an average 26 minutes per day.
Disney is one of a slew of companies hoping to tap into this growing demand. ITV and the BBC are set to launch their own streaming service, Britbox, later this year that will offer access to British programming, while Channel 4 is testing an ad-free paid-for version of its on-demand service All4.
Bradley-Jones joins Disney from Sky UK where he was responsible for brand strategy, product and content marketing, and customer engagement across its TV, broadband and mobile products. During his time, he led the launches of services including Sky Store, Sky Go Extra and Sky Q.
Prior to Sky, he spent five years at BBC Worldwide helping to launch BBC.com in the US and build out a video-on-demand business through partnerships with Apple, Netflix and Yahoo. Prior to BBC Worldwide, he worked at media consultancy Spectrum Strategy Consultants (now Value Partners).