Disney Hires New-to-Film Exec As Marketing Czar

   Update: Hours after this story was posted, Disney confirmed MT Carney's hiring and a story link below provides final details...
By Robert Marich
   Apr 21, 2010—Various news organizations report that Walt Disney Studios will hire a Scottish-born new media marketing executive to head up film marketing, filling a post vacant for months. The stories name MT Carney, who is based in New York City, as soon-to-be-announced and she’ll move to the Disney studio lot in Burbank-Cal.
   Carney is a founder of Naked Communications (the name refers to the ad agency model stripped naked) that is focused on new digital media and a global perspective to marketing consumer goods.
   Her selection will also test whether Disney can implement significant cost savings in marketing spend—which amounts to $3.4 billion yearly for domestic theatrical distribution. Corporate boss Robert Iger has told stock analysts too much is spent on theatrical marketing and Disney TV executive Rich Ross, who is now in charge of all theatrical efforts, hired someone outside of the film marketing arena with Carney.
   “I've learned Ross and his headhunter, the NY- and LA-based executive search firm ML Search, spoke to inside Hollywood candidates, but many were already under contract, as well as outsiders at companies including Microsoft and Burger King,” wrote Nikki Finke in “Years ago, Disney hired Burger King guy John Cywinski, and Warners hired Brad Ball from McDonalds. Both didn't last.”
   Prior to being immersed in new media, Carney was worldwide planning director at Oglivy & Mather, which is a blue chip ad agency. “In her new studio job, Carney would oversee the marketing of Disney’s movie releases across all platforms including theatrical, DVDs, digital and pay TV,” says a Los Angeles Times article.
   Marketing to Moviegoers: Second Edition notes that theatrical marketing is unique because the “product” has a short shelf life and marketers have to appease numerous constituencies, such as powerful film producers. Trends of hiring outside the film pool have occurred at various times in the past, including bringing in TV executives at one junction and ad agency executives at another.
   Finke noted in her article that Carney impressed in her Disney interview process by demonstrating great creative messages are most crucial in new media efforts, more so than media buying. She met with studio-based producers including Steven Spielberg, who has a film deal with Disney.

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