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By Dawn Chmielewski
(Reuters) -Walt Disney Co on Wednesday named company executive Rebecca Campbell to lead its new hub for international content creation to expand regional content for its streaming services.
Campbell will oversee the creation of more locally produced content to fuel the growth of Disney+, Hulu and Star+, as the video streaming services expand globally.
Since the launch of Disney+ in late 2019, the company's streaming business has expanded rapidly, with its service amassing 179 million subscribers through the end of fiscal 2021. The company plans to double the number of countries where its flagship Disney+ service is available to 160 by the end of fiscal 2023.
Disney's announcement that it would invest in local content mirrors Netflix Inc's strategy. Dominant streaming service Netflix has capitalized on the global popularity of series developed outside the United States, including its most recent hit, the dystopian South Korean drama "Squid Game."
Burbank, California-based Disney has been taking tentative steps in the same direction.
Last October, Disney announced a slate of content from the Asia-Pacific region, including a documentary on the chart-topping South Korean girl group BlackPink, a romantic melodrama series starring Korean actor Jung Hae, and "Tokyo MER", a Japanese medical drama starring award-winning actors Ryohei Suzuki and Kento Kaku.
At the time, Disney said it planned to commission more than 50 productions by 2023. In November, the first Disney+ original series produced in Latin America, “Disney Intertwined” (“Entrelazados”), debuted.
Campbell will continue overseeing Disney's international media teams, in addition to her expanded role as chair of international content and operations, the company said. She will report to Chief Executive Bob Chapek.
Another Disney executive, Michael Paull, was promoted to the newly created role of president of Disney Streaming, overseeing Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Star+. He joined Disney in 2017 after the acquisition of the streaming technology company Bamtech Media, where he was CEO.
Joe Earley, who previously served as executive vice president of marketing and operations for Disney+, has been named President of Hulu, reporting to Paull.
(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru and Dawn Chmielewski; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Leslie Adler)