Culture

Disney streaming boss Kevin Mayer to run TikTok

Disney streaming boss Kevin Mayer to run TikTok”

In his new role, Mayer will also serve as COO of ByteDance, where he will oversee global development and corporate functions of the company like sales, marketing and public affairs.

Mayer's appointment could bring more legitimacy to TikTok, which secured a foothold in the U.S.by becoming especially popular among teens and is expanding to a broader audience. New users in the United States downloaded the app about 11 million times in March, almost twice the total in December, according to Sensor Tower, a company that tracks app usage data.

Mayer led Disney's Direct-to-Consumer and global segment since its founding in 2018 and oversaw the successful launches of ESPN+ and Disney+ and the integration of Hulu.

He will report directly to ByteDance founder and chief executive Yiming Zhang. In January, it appointed former Microsoft intellectual property chief Erich Andersen as global general counsel, after Vanessa Pappas, a veteran YouTube executive, was hired to run its US operations previous year. One of his key contributions to the media giant is leading the launch of Disney's streaming platform, Disney Plus which was launched in the United States back in November. Under his leadership, Disney+ signed up more than 50 million subscribers in five months.

In February the company said that theme parks boss Bob Chapek would replace long-time boss Bob Iger, despite Mr Mayer overseeing the successful launch of Netflix rival Disney Plus and, before that, helping orchestrate its takeovers of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox.

Speculations over Mayer's future had been swirling since then.

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Disney, which is in the midst of a continued global rollout of Disney+ and a planned worldwide expansion of Hulu, had recently begun a major marketing push around its bundled offering of Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, part of a continued effort to grow the subscriber base of all three offerings.

His relative lack of operating experience was a main reason he did not get the top job, the former executive said. 'Any company in our sector would be delighted have him onboard'.

Disney said Monday that Rebecca Campbell, another Disney veteran, will succeed Mayer as the chairman of the streaming and global business, and also announced Josh D'Amaro, the president of Walt Disney World Resort, as the successor to Chapek's old job as head of parks, experiences and products. In late April, TikTok topped 2 billion global downloads; in Q1, it had the best quarter of any app ever, per Sensor Tower. However, the company has drawn concerns in Washington about its handling of personal data.

ByteDance owns TikTok, whose kaleidoscopic feeds of 15 to 60-second video clips feature everything from hair-dye tutorials to dance routines and jokes about daily life. Several U.S. government agencies, including almost all branches of the military, have strongly discouraged employees from downloading or using the app. Two senators introduced a bill to ban federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued phones.

Given the growing scrutiny of the app, TikTok has stepped up transparency efforts, by launching a content moderation center at its Los Angeles office where external experts will oversee its operations.



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