The Walt Disney Company just announced more changes at its movie studio, appointing Sean Bailey president of production to replace Oren Aviv, who resigned earlier this week. This is the latest in a long string of management changes, starting with studio chairman Dick Cook leaving in September. Bailey has been working on "Tron: Legacy," the remake of the 1982 high-tech cult favorite.
Bailey isn't just a traditional movie producer; he has quite a long history with *new* media. A decade ago he co-founded "LivePlanet," a production company that aimed to create content for the web and new media platforms in addition to TV and movies. (Here's a Fortune article about them that I worked on a decade ago) The company attracted some attention for "Project Greenlight" a reality TV competition for amateur filmmakers. But LivePlanet didn't have the game-changing impact they hoped for back in 2000, but some interesting big ideas.
But perhaps more striking: Bailey doesn't have any experience as a studio executive. Disney has been making it a practice to put smart people in positions where they don't have a lot of specific experience. Last fall it gave its CFO Tom Staggs the job of running the theme parks division and gave the theme parks chief Jay Rasulo the CFO spot. Studio chief Rich Ross seems to be counting on Bailey's understanding of the complexities of the digital future.
Here are Ross' comments on his strategy for the studio from back in november -- presumably this appointment aims to move the business in towards multi-platform distrubtion:
“The way today’s audiences and consumers experience our movies, home entertainment, and other multi-platform programming is rapidly changing as new technology offers more options than ever before. The Studio restructuring will embrace new possibilities and opportunities, and find innovative ways to provide quality entertainment that is readily available.”
“A certain amount of change is inevitable as we move to adopt a new strategic approach to the way we make, market and deliver ourfilms." said Ross.
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