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Pete Distad Named CEO of Fox, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports Streaming Joint Venture

Pete Distad, the digital entertainment executive with stints at Apple and Hulu, has been named chief executive officer of Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery’s sports streaming joint venture.

Distad, who most recently served as an executive at Apple for a decade following six years at Hulu, will assume oversight of all aspects of the partnership, including overall strategy, distribution, marketing, sales and more.

“This is an incredible opportunity to build and grow a differentiated product that will serve passionate sports fans in the US outside of the traditional pay TV bundle,” Distad said in a statement. “I’m excited to be able to pull together the industry-leading sports content portfolios from these three companies to deliver a new best-in-class service.”

Distad worked at the tech giant from 2013 to 2023, where he was responsible for the business, operations and global distribution for sports video at Apple TV+.

During his tenure, he launched the new Apple TV in 2015 and led teams that launched and scaled the Apple TV app, Apple TV+, and MLS Season Pass. He originally joined the company to lead product marketing for the Apple TV hardware product.

Before that, he worked at Hulu from 2007 to 2013, where he was part of the service’s original launch team, overseeing customer acquisition and retention, distribution and marketing. His experience at Hulu included serving as senior vice president of marketing and distribution on the executive team.

Prior to Hulu, Distad worked in various technology and management consulting roles, including at McKinsey & Company, Calence (now Insight) and Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).

“Pete is an accomplished innovator and leader who has extensive experience with launching and growing new video services,” the companies said in a joint statement. “We are confident he and his team will build an extremely compelling, fan-focused product for our target market.”

Disney, Fox and WBD will each own one-third of the company, have equal board representation and license their sports content to the joint venture on a non-exclusive basis. Distad will report directly to the board of directors and will be based at the to-be-established offices of the joint venture in Los Angeles, along with the independent management team he will assemble.

The service, set to launch this fall, will offer access to content from linear sports networks including ESPN, ESPN+, ESPN2, ESPNU, SECN, ACCN, ESPNEWS, FOX, FS1, FS2, BTN, TNT, TBS, truTV, as well as the ABC network. Content will include the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, College Sports, UFC, PGA TOUR Golf, Grand Slam Tennis, the FIFA World Cup, cycling and much more. Subscribers would also have the option to bundle the product, with Disney+, Hulu and Max.

A name for the service, pricing details and additional staff will be disclosed at a later date, though an individual familiar with the matter previously told TheWrap that the price point would be cheaper than YouTube TV, which charges $72.99 per month for its basic plan. Analysts have estimated that the JV’s pricing could fall anywhere between $35 to $50 per month and Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch has said it would be in the “higher ranges of what people are talking about.”

Despite the one-third ownership stake for each company, the individual emphasized that the networks will not share revenue from the venture equally, with the companies expected to earn a similar carriage fee rate as they do through other distribution channels where their networks available. The trio will each be responsible for selling their own advertising and will retain all of the ad revenue from their content.

Murdoch has said the JV would target 50 to 60 million households outside of the cable bundle, dubbed “cord nevers.” The offering is expected to reach 5 million subscribers within the first five years of its launch.

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