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Disney Media Distribution Chief Ben Pyne to Exit After 25 Years

Variety logo Variety 3/2/2017 Cynthia Littleton
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Ben Pyne, Disney’s longtime head of TV distribution, is exiting his post after a 25-year run at the Mouse House.

Pyne has served as president of Disney Media Distribution since 2007. He’s steered the company’s negotiations with MVPDs and streaming platforms and helped drive the company’s push into VOD amid a period of great transition for programmers and distributors. Disney expects to name a successor by the time Pyne exits in late summer.

“Ben’s reputation in our industry is second-to-none,” said Bruce Rosenblum, president of business operations for Disney/ABC TV Group. “What he’s built here at Disney, and what he’s been able to accomplish over the past 25 years, is truly remarkable. While we’ll be sad to see him leave, we’re excited to see what his next chapter holds.”

Pyne’s move marks the latest in a string of departures among long-serving Disney and ABC executives. ABC marketing head Marla Provencio announced her exit after 35 years last month. Late last year, ABC advertising sales president Geri Wang confirmed her plan to step down later this year amid a restructuring of ad sales operations. The transitions follow Rosenblum’s appointment last September as business operations head under Disney/ABC TV Group president Ben Sherwood.

Pyne joined Disney in 1992. He was part of the team that transitioned Disney Channel from a pay cabe service to a commercial-free basic offering in the U.S., growing its base from 6.5 million subs to more than 100 million today, and on Pyne’s watch Disney Channel greatly expanded its footprint worldwide.

More recently, Pyne was a key player in the launch of ABC and Disney-branded authenticated streaming apps and ABC’s pursuit of retransmission consent deals for its eight O&O stations. He has also represented Disney on the board of Hulu.

“It has been a special privilege to help build and grow brands, networks and programming that touch and enrich the lives of viewers all around the world,” Pyne said, adding that his experiences at Disney “prepared me well for my next opportunity.”

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