Jackal Group President Joe Earley is leaving Gail Berman’s company and rejoining the marketing executive ranks at Disney+. He has been named EVP Marketing and Operations for Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International operations.
In his new role, Earley will lead content and brand marketing for the upcoming Disney+ streaming service, which is scheduled to launch in late 2019 in the U.S. He will report to Ricky Strauss, president of Content & Marketing at Disney+, and will work closely with Disney Streaming Services’ Customer Acquisition marketing group. Additionally, Earley will oversee operations related to programming for the service, working in collaboration with content groups across the Walt Disney Co. that are developing and producing original content exclusively for the service, including The Walt Disney Studios, Disney-ABC Television Group, Pixar Animation, Marvel Entertainment, and Lucasfilm, as well as external third-party production entities.
Earley, former President of Marketing and Communications for Fox Broadcasting Co. and COO of Fox Television Group, is the first top executive at Disney’s streaming division to come from TV industry background. With his extensive experience and relationships, he would provide a suitable liaison between the service and its traditional studio suppliers as he knows and understands their business, which had been missing. In that role, he will work with his former Fox bosses, Peter Rice and Dana Walden, who will hold top posts at the Disney-ABC TV Group post-merger.
“Joe’s industry knowledge and understanding of where the global entertainment marketplace is going will be a key component as we launch and expand the Disney+ footprint,” Strauss said. “The breadth of his experience in both content marketing and production, combined with the quality of his relationships in our industry will be huge assets to Disney+.”
Earley left Fox in 2016 to join Berman’s Jackal, which had a lucrative multi-year deal at Fox Network Group. I hear Earley’s exit coincided with that pact’s conclusion at an end of 2018. Given the fact that Fox Network Group as an entity no longer exists since the Fox TV assets are being split, with a number of them heading to Disney, the deal was allowed to lapse. But I hear that Berman, a seasoned TV executive and producer, is moving forward with her company and plotting its new chapter.
As president of The Jackal Group, Earley oversaw all areas of the studio’s television, film, commercial theater and digital divisions. Before that, he served for over two decades at Fox, most recently as COO for Fox TV Group. In that role, he had direct oversight of marketing and communications, digital, research, talent relations, scheduling and audience strategy at FBC, while partnering with 20th Century Fox TV’s development, production, business affairs, marketing and finance leads on strategic initiatives, and overseeing publicity and talent relations at the studio.
Earlier on, Earley was COO of FBC, where he played a key management role in all areas of the network, including development, casting and programming, and prior to that, he was President of Marketing & Communications for the network, having risen through the ranks from his start as Senior Publicist in 1994.
While at Fox, Earley has shepherded some of the most successful TV launch campaigns in the past decade, including Glee, New Girl — which included then-groundbreaking VOD partnerships — and Empire.
“I’ve always admired Disney, their brand approach, and the strong connection that people around the world have to their stories and characters,” said Earley. “From the moment I heard about Disney+ and the unparalleled brands that will be brought together on the service, I felt it was the model for the future of entertainment. I’m looking forward to working with Ricky and everyone on the Disney+ team, as well as with the amazingly talented creative content teams at the Company, to build and grow Disney+, giving consumers direct access to the world’s most beloved entertainment.”