34. Justin Connolly – The Walt Disney Company
As President of Platform Distribution for Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED), Justin Connolly oversees all third-party media sales efforts for distribution, affiliate marketing and affiliate-related business operations for all of the Company’s direct-to-consumer services and linear media networks; content sales agreements for General Entertainment, Studios and Sports; as well as global theatrical film distribution and the Disney Music Group.
Connolly and his team are charged with leading and integrating all distribution activities across theatrical and physical home entertainment, including domestic and international theatrical distribution of all films produced and released by Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Pixar Animation Studio, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Studios, Blue Sky Studios and Searchlight Pictures.
Connolly and his team also work to maximize Disney’s opportunities in media markets by managing all aspects of North American distribution, affiliate marketing and affiliate-related business operations for all the services provided by Disney and ESPN media networks including, among other services: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, SEC Network, ACC Network, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild, and related WATCH, HDTV, video-on-demand, the ABC Affiliate Relations and Marketing team, and interactive television and retransmission consent agreements for The Walt Disney Company’s eight-owned ABC stations.
He spearheads global app distribution deals for The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer streaming services –including Disney+, ESPN+, and Movies Anywhere. Connolly is also responsible for the distribution of film and television programming via home entertainment, broadcasting platforms, digital platforms, SVOD and pay networks.
Connolly came from Media Networks where he was Executive Vice President, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks –overseeing all aspects of domestic distribution, affiliate marketing and affiliate-related business operations for all the services provided by Disney and ESPN media networks.
Previously, Connolly served as Senior Vice President, College Networks, and was responsible for setting the strategic direction, overseeing content acquisition and scheduling, and working collaboratively with all ESPN business units to maximize distribution, viewership and revenue opportunities for Longhorn Network and SEC Network. Before working with the college networks, Connolly served as Senior Vice President, National Accounts for Disney & ESPN Media Networks.
Prior to joining ESPN, Connolly worked in the corporate finance group for The Walt Disney Company’s corporate treasury department in Burbank, Calif.
Connolly, a Boston native and Sports Business Journal40 Under 40 Hall of Fame inductee, graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics in 1998 and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2003.
“To whom much is given, much is expected”
Justin Connolly, Disney, ESPN. Production team: Nani Shin, Sheep Jam Productions, QodPod Network