Disney names Hulu’s Joe Earley as streaming chief as restructuring continues

Joe Earley

Disney has appointed Joe Earley, its president of Hulu, to a new role overseeing the entirety of its streaming offering, with Michael Paull exiting as a result.

Earley becomes president of direct-to-consumer at Disney Entertainment, which was created in February as part of a major shake-up by CEO Bob Iger that saw the short-lived Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED) structure disbanded.

Paull, who had been president of DTC for DMED, had initially retained oversight of business and operations for Disney+ and Hulu.

LR: Bob Iger & Bob Chapek

Earley will now take on that remit, reporting into Disney Entertainment’s chiefs Dana Walden (for TV) and Alan Bergman (for movies), who have control of Disney’s streaming and TV operations in the US and globally.

The exec will lead content teams for both Disney+ and Hulu, with a new boss for the latter being sought. Earley retains interim responsibility for the US-focused streamer, whose future is unclear.

The rejig comes just three months since Earley was named president of Hulu, having joined Disney+ in 2019 to lead its marketing and operations ahead of launch. Before that, he was president of The Jackal Group and also worked at Fox as COO.

Paull, meanwhile, had been with Disney since 2016 after the Mouse House acquired Bamtech Media, where he was CEO.

He had been promoted last year under former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who was ousted in November as streaming growth stalled.

Earley said: “Helping launch Disney+ was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and Hulu has been inspiring and rewarding. I’m incredibly grateful to Dana and Alan for their confidence and the opportunity to lead both of these incredible teams during this time of transformation across the streaming landscape.”

Walden and Bergman added that Earley’s “vast industry experience and deep understanding” of Disney would be “essential as we build on our robust direct-to-consumer efforts.”

Disney has been laying off staff as part of its “strategic realignment” unveiled in February, with production operations across Disney TV Studios, Hulu, FX and Freeform recently affected. Further waves of cuts are expected.

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