How the world turns! A little more than a year ago, Disney’s onetime streaming chief, Kevin Mayer, looked like he had made the career blunder of the decade by quitting as CEO of TikTok during a short-lived fuss over the hugely popular app’s Chinese ownership. Today, though, Mayer has emerged as a player in the intense battle underway between tech and media companies trying to profit from the streaming boom.
Two pieces of news on Wednesday highlighted Mayer’s new status. Discovery, the TV firm buying control of HBO Max’s parent, WarnerMedia, from AT&T, said it had tapped Mayer as a consultant. Discovery CEO David Zaslav gushed to analysts that Mayer was a “big brain” who could help Discovery “with everything that he’s learned.” At about the same time, The Information reported that Mayer and his former Disney colleague, Tom Staggs, were close to a deal to buy kids’ streaming production firm Moonbug Entertainment for about $3 billion through a firm backed by Blackstone. It would be the second deal done by the Mayer-Staggs-Blackstone group, following their $900 million purchase of Reese Witherspoon’s studio Hello Sunshine. The team is betting that the value of independent production houses can only go up from here, thanks to the streaming boom.