Kara Swisher

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Disney Combines Digital Units (Here’s the Iger Memo)


In what is likely to turbocharge its heft in the digital space, according to an internal email sent out by Walt Disney (DIS) CEO Bob Iger, the entertainment company is combining its Disney Interactive Studios and the Walt Disney Internet Group.

The new unit, called Disney Interactive Media Group–will be headed by WDIG’s Steve Wadsworth.

WDIG has a wide range of properties, like Club Penguin and Disney.com. Disney Interactive Studios makes a range of games for Disney brands like “Hannah Montana” and “Wall-E.”

Here’s the memo, with email address removed:

From: Bob Iger
Sent: Wed Jun 04 19:44:22 2008
Subject: Disney Interactive Media Group (DIMG)

In order to take advantage of rapid advancements in interactive digital media across all platforms as well as the convergence of connected console, Internet and mobile-based games, the company is combining Disney Interactive Studios (DIS) and the Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) into a new unit–Disney Interactive Media Group (DIMG)–effective immediately.

This new unit, which will be led by Steve Wadsworth, will have global responsibility for development and distribution of all Disney-branded interactive digital media and entertainment for all digital interactive platforms. Existing management teams will continue to run the combined group, and Steve will work with [DIS EVP and GM] Graham Hopper and the WDIG and DIS management teams to optimize for new opportunities this creates.

Digital media is a high priority for our company, and focusing all of our Disney-branded interactive digital media efforts in one group will ensure we are best positioned to maximize this emerging and dynamic opportunity. We have made fantastic progress through the efforts of Disney Internet Group and Disney Interactive Studios, and the combined organization will maximize the experience, expertise and talent of both groups across all platforms to be a world-class interactive digital media company.

The uniqueness of the Disney brand provides us an opportunity and an imperative to create a unified Disney-branded experience and community across all connected devices. Additionally, as console and handheld games become more connected to the Internet, and as Internet and mobile become increasingly robust destinations for games and a range of interactive entertainment, we are taking this opportunity to integrate these activities.

We have strong momentum in place in all of our digital media areas, and I’m confident that the newly combined DIMG management team will create one new organization that is well-integrated to maximize the opportunities that we have before us.

Thank you for your great work to date and for what you will do in the future, as we strive to be the very best in the digital media and entertainment space.