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Disney’s Licensing Chief Departs

Janice Marinelli, who oversaw sales and distribution at Disney for years, is leaving the company, Disney said. 

She’d been at Disney in a variety of roles for an impressive 34 years. Most recently, though, she was best known as the chief architect of the company’s deals with streaming companies, including its highly lucrative (and internally controversial) deal with Netflix. As The Information reported, those deals brought Ms. Marinelli into conflict with other Disney executives who were concerned about licensing so much to Netflix.

In the end, of course, Disney chose not to renew with Netflix and instead is preparing to launch its own streaming service,  Disney+. Ms. Marinelli was put into a new division reporting to Kevin Mayer, who oversees the new streaming services. Her role fundamentally changed. 

Rather than selling to outside channels, almost all of Disney’s reruns and movies will eventually go to the streaming service, meaning there’s less need for a powerful dealmaker. In some respects, her departure is a sign of the changing times not only at Disney but across the entertainment industry. 


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