Disney Forms New Entity Combining Maker Studios With Rest Of Its Digital Brands

By 05/02/2017
Disney Forms New Entity Combining Maker Studios With Rest Of Its Digital Brands

Across its various digital businesses, Disney is striving for synergy. Following the high-profile acquisition — and subsequently bumpy integration — of the Maker Studios multi-channel network beginning in 2015, the media giant announced at its NewFront presentation this morning a brand new entity that will house all of its digital businesses under one roof: the Disney Digital Network.

The Disney Digital Network not only comprises Disney’s own editorial brands — including parenting-focused Babble, gamer-leaning Polaris, and flagship editorial destination Oh My Disney — but also more than 300 social media channels that Disney has created for its popular movie characters (including Mickey Mouse and The Muppets). The Disney Digital Network will also house the newly-streamlined Maker creator network, as well as an in-house branded content company called Disney Co/Op.

All told, the company says, the Disney Digital Network counts 1 billion total followers.


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At its NewFront event, Disney EVP Andrew Sugerman explained that the company opted to downsize Maker’s creator network in order to ensure brands that their ads were in safe hands — an issue that has been top of mind at this year’s NewFronts in the wake of the YouTube ad boycott.

Sugerman said that streamlining Maker also enables Disney to integrate talent more seamlessly and prominently into forthcoming original shows. Going forward, for instance, The Holderness Family might be a perfect fit for the Disney Family vertical, Alisha Marie and Ashley Nicole may be featured heavily on Disney Style, and Parker Games and Strawburry17, Sugerman said, will be right at home on Polaris.

Maker was folded into the Content And Media Division of Disney’s Consumer Products And Interactive Media (DCPI) arm in December. In February, the company announced a round of roughly 80 layoffs as a result of the integration, and said that it was slashing its creator network to under 1,000 total influencers. The company also cut ties with its biggest star, PewDiePie, for making anti-Semitic jokes.

Check out the full programming slate unveiled by Disney at its NewFront earlier today right here:

  • Science and Star Wars: An episodic series that explores, explains, and demonstrates the parallels between the science fantasy of Star Wars and the real-world scientific breakthroughs the saga has inspired. Join show host Anthony Carboni and his rotating roster of IBM researchers, scientific experts, guest stars, and Watson, to explore and experiment with technology that isn’t so far, far away anymore. Presented by IBM; Facebook exclusive through Facebook Anthology.
  • Oh My Disney Show, Season 2: Comedy, news, trends, and sketches combine in this always-on show built for every Disney fan’s feed.
  • Club Mickey Mouse: Club Mickey Mouse is a digital-first variety show that celebrates the original show of yesteryear but brings it into the present-day with a diverse cast of talented young creators, and, of course, everyone’s favorite mouse. Presented by HP Inc.; Facebook exclusive through Facebook Anthology.
  • Disney IRL: Oh My Disney brings iconic animated Disney characters and moments to real life, surprising people on location and our viewers at home.
  • COIN: COIN is an animated action-comedy on Polaris with a distinct, game-inspired aesthetic that follows a team of misfits tasked to save their world. Brought together by time traveling robot Crohnobot, Donovan (a gruff plumber quick to anger), Kid Victory (a master of weaponry), and the Sisters Vicious (twin masters of illusion who hate each other) must defeat super-villain Gamovah and retrieve the coin of Chorder before it’s too late.
  • Disney Design Challenge: The best and brightest young designers are invited to push the boundaries of their art form to create beautiful, innovative, and memorable works inspired by Disney films. In the first season, we challenge students in the fashion design program at Otis College of Art and Design to create an eight-look clothing line inspired by Disney’s Frozen.
  • Disney Magical Starts:  This show is for the parents who want to spend more time creating experiences with their kids, but don’t know where to start. Our host parents and their kids help you tackle every day, and every new season, from holidays to back-to-school, with meal ideas, activities, crafts, tips, and more. And with a little help from our beloved Disney characters, family time is even more magical.

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