Ben Pyne is President, Global Distribution, Disney Media Networks. Promoted to this role in June 2007, he has chief responsibility for the global distribution and sales of the far-reaching portfolio of entertainment and news content produced by The Walt Disney Company. This includes all feature films, television series, kids’ programming, made-for-TV movies, miniseries, news documentaries, TV animation and direct-to-video content – and their distribution to all platforms, including video-on-demand (VOD) and broadband platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and iTunes. He also oversees domestic distribution of the Company’s television content handled by Disney|ABC Domestic Television, international content, and channel distribution through Disney Media Distribution.
Rounding out Mr. Pyne’s duties are responsibilities for the ABC Television Network’s Affiliate Relations department and the Disney & ESPN Media Networks Affiliate Sales and Marketing team. Additionally, he represents sits on Hulu’s Board of Directors as a representative of The Walt Disney Company.
He reports to Ben Sherwood, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney|ABC Television Group, and works closely with Andy Bird, president, Walt Disney International, and Janice Marinelli, president, Disney Studio In-Home and Digital Distribution & Disney-ABC Content Distribution.
In his role, Mr. Pyne is charged with handling the retransmission consent agreements for The Walt Disney Company’s eight owned ABC stations as well as the distribution of company’s advanced products and services, such as video on demand and interactive television services. In addition, Pyne oversees the licensing of broadband and mobile content. Over the past five years, Pyne has been instrumental in closing renewal agreements with every major US television distributor, including a groundbreaking deal with Comcast Corporation that launched the first-ever Disney-branded live, authenticated networks — WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney XD and WATCH Disney Junior — available online and via a suite of apps for iOS devices.
Mr. Pyne’s many accomplishments include the 2013 launch of WATCH ABC, the US television industry’s only live linear and on-demand authenticated local broadcast TV Everywhere service; the 2012 launches of the 24/7 linear channel for preschoolers, Disney Junior, and ABC Spark, a linear channel built on the foundation of the successful U.S. brand ABC Family and available in Canada through a license agreement between Corus Entertainment and Disney|ABC Television Group; and the growth of newer Subscription Video On Demand services around the globe including ABC-TV on Demand, Disney Movies on Demand and Hot from the US.
Pyne has also been instrumental in securing unique VOD and subscription VOD deals, which included the popular subscription video service Disney Channel On Demand and ABC’s fast forward-disabled VOD offering, a first for the US television industry dating back to 2009. His team also oversaw affiliate-related aspects of the successful rebrand of Toon Disney to Disney XD, and has increased the distribution of Disney Media Network’s mobile video distribution business exponentially.
Prior to this role, Mr. Pyne served as president, Disney & ESPN Networks Affiliate Sales and Marketing, a role he was promoted to in October 2005. In this capacity, he directed all affiliate distribution, affiliate relations, affiliate marketing and local ad sales for the U.S. cable and satellite networks of The Walt Disney Company: ABC News Now, ABC Family, Disney Channel, SOAPnet, Toon Disney, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPN HD and ESPNU. He also oversaw U.S. distribution of related HDTV, broadband, VOD, subscription VOD, interactive television, pay-per-view, Spanish-language, and sports syndication products. He previously served as executive vice president, Disney and ESPN Affiliate Sales and Marketing, from June 2004 through September 2005, and worked closely with Sean Bratches on the successful integration of the ESPN and ABC Cable Networks Group sales teams.
Previous to the merging of the ESPN and Disney|ABC Cable Networks Groups affiliate sales and marketing teams, Mr. Pyne served from 2000-2004 as senior vice president, Affiliate Sales and Marketing for Disney|ABC Cable Networks Group, overseeing all cable and satellite distribution, local ad sales and affiliate marketing for the four basic cable networks within the Group at that time: ABC Family, Disney Channel, SOAPnet and Toon Disney. Under his guidance, Disney Channel transitioned from a pay cable service to an expanded basic service, growing from 6.5 million U.S. subscribers in 1992 when he joined the Company to the more than 94 million today.
Mr. Pyne has a BA from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He was also Orchestra Manager of the New Jersey Symphony from 1985-90, prior to attending Business School, and has experience with other nonprofit associations prior to that. Maintaining a strong interest in music, Mr. Pyne continues to play the classical guitar.