Disney has hired Sky's former chief marketing officer Luke Bradley-Jones in a new role that will see the exec run its forthcoming Disney+ streaming service in Europe and Africa.
Though Disney has not set a date for Disney+'s launch in either market, Bradley-Jones is due to start in the position of senior vice-president, direct-to-consumer and general manager for the region in "early 2020", suggesting plans are afoot for a new-year launch. He will be based in London.
Bradley-Jones will report into Jan Koeppen, president, television and direct-to-consumer, Europe and Africa and Michael Paull, president, Disney streaming services. He will also work closely with Ricky Strauss, president of content and marketing for Disney+.
The exec brings with him just over seven years' experience at Sky UK, where he was most recently chief marketing officer. During his tenure at the business, he oversaw the transformation of Sky’s n-demand services and led the launches of Sky Store, Sky Go Extra, Sky Box Sets and most recently Sky Q.
Before joining Sky, Bradley-Jones spent five years at BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial arm, initially joining as head of strategy before rising to managing director of BBC.com and global iPlayer, responsible for the corporation's online, mobile and digital video-on-demand business. While there, he spent two years in the US where he launched BBC.com and built out a digital VOD business through partnerships with Apple, Netflix, Xbox and Yahoo.
'Most important' launch in Disney's recent history
Disney is hoping its Netflix rival Disney+ will help it cut its losses across key markets. The service will host original IPs as well as "reimaginings" of 21st Century Fox franchises (like Home Alone and Diary of a Wimpy Kid) acquired by Disney in its $71bn purchase of the conglomerate earlier this year.
During the business's most recent earnings call, chief exec Bob Iger said it would ramp up its marketing of Disney+ later in August ahead of its US launch in November.
He also announced that in the US consumers will be able to subscribe to a bundle of Disney+, ESPN+ and ad-supported Hulu for $12.99 a month.
The bundle will cost the same amount as Netflix’s standard plan in the US.
“Disney+ is going to be treated as the most important product that the company has launched in, I don't know, certainly during my tenure in the job, which is quite a long time,” explained Iger.
Despite Disney's big plans for, and investment in, its streaming platform, UK viewers have displayed a concerning lack of awareness about its launch.
In the UK, the company is still without a top marketer following the departure of veteran Anna Hill in May.