Pyne to lead Dis global TV distribution

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NEW YORK -- The Walt Disney Co. has created a global television distribution unit that will merge the company's distribution arms.

Ben Pyne will lead the unit as president of global distribution at Disney-ABC Worldwide Television and Disney Media Networks. Pyne's promotion was made in conjunction with the announcement that Laurie Younger, president of Disney-ABC Worldwide Television, would retire when her contract ends in January 2008. She will work with the transition team through the end of her contract.

Pyne had been president of Disney & ESPN Networks Affiliate Sales & Marketing since October 2005. He will be in charge of the international distribution and sales of Disney's entertainment and news content, including feature films, TV series, miniseries, documentaries and other content for all platforms. He also will be in charge of domestic distribution handled by Disney-ABC Domestic Television and the ABC Television Network's affiliate relations department.

Pyne will report to Sean Bratches, executive vp sales and marketing at ESPN and ABC Sports and work closely with Walt Disney International president Andy Bird. Younger said in a statement that she didn't arrive lightly at her decision to retire but said that she looked forward to starting a new chapter of her career.

Meanwhile, the company promoted David Preschlack to executive vp at Disney & ESPN Networks Affiliate Sales and Marketing to replace Pyne. He will be in charge of all affiliate distribution, affiliate relations, affiliate marketing and local ad sales for Disney's cable channels, including ESPN, ABC Family, Disney Channel and others. He had been senior vp at Disney & ESPN Affiliate Sales and Marketing since January 2006.
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