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Counsel, Disney Media Distribution


We are seeking an experienced legal Counsel to join Disney Media Distribution on a permanent basis in the Hammersmith Head office.
The Disney Media Distribution (DMD) division handles the Business to Business distribution of all content generated by the Walt Disney Company and its affiliates including Marvel, Lucas Film, Pixar, ABC Studios and Maker.
The new Counsel, DMD will be responsible for advising on the structuring, drafting and negotiation of distribution deals for feature films, TV series, long and short form digital content and for Disney owned and operated channels and services. The role is primarily transactional and deals range from major output or carriage deals with traditional Pay TV platforms to innovative new media deals with Internet, connected television and mobile service providers. In addition there is general advisory work on regulatory, intellectual property, anti-piracy and competition issues, together with day-to-day strategic and commercial advice to the business. The role also involves the management of dedicated paralegal and administrative colleagues.
The candidate will support one or two particular DMD territory teams in more depth, contribute to the management of the Legal team and to the setting of policies for international rights exploitation by DMD.
ResponsibilitiesKey Tasks/Objectives

  • Manage the legal team workload for a particular territory/territories, working closely with the General Manager for that territory
  • Legal lead advisor on programming licensing negotiations, both within the traditional TV and new media sectors
  • Lead legal negotiator in output negotiations, across all distribution business models and for channel carriage agreements
  • Providing guidance on any legal issues arising for the local DMD business(es)
  • Monitor applicable legal developments on a pan-regional basis but also within the relevant territory(ies)
  • Monitor industry/technology developments
  • Review and advise on appropriate licensing policies
  • Maintain and provide background information concerning DMD’s historical licensing structures and agreements
  • Foster a ‘continuous improvement’ culture within the team, ensuring processes, policies and procedures sufficiently protect the business from current and future risk, while reducing the cost of service provision where possible
  • Strengthen internal and external relationships in ways that benefit the business
  • Drives enhancement of own and others’ awareness of commercial and policy developments, and the impact of these on the business
  • Develops direct reports through provision of constructive appraisals, guidance and on-the-job coaching.

Deal Management

  • Work closely with Sales to develop deal negotiating strategy and deal structure, optimizing potential revenue for DMD. Covers all deal types (programming, channel and digital). Involves:
  • Developing a solid understanding of the customers’ expectations and negotiating position through effective research and utilization of cross-functional expertise within the territory
  • Using sound legal expertise, current knowledge of the industry and leveraging cross-functional territory team knowledge to structure licensing agreements, optimizing potential revenue for DMD.
  • Take an educated and informed approach to deal negotiation, understanding the client’s and DMD‘s negotiating thresholds, and using negotiation techniques to close the deal in favour of DMD.
  • Complete deals within agreed timescales and ensure a correct allocation of work for the assigned territory across the legal team to meet deal deadlines
  • Work closely with the finance team to ensure accurate forecasting and the achievement of forecasts at quarter and year end close

Industry & Policy Evaluation

  • Maintain a current awareness of developments in the industry and in international legal policy (including liaising where appropriate with colleagues in Los Angeles). Take steps to evaluate the impact on Disney Media Distribution of developments, and drive dissemination of this information across the business so the organisation may remain proactive.
  • Work closely with local lawyers, where appropriate, within Disney’s offices within EMEA to develop an understanding of the applicable legal and regulatory framework for DMD’s business within those territories

Team Leadership & Development

  • Provide guidance to direct reports, and foster people development culture. Involves:
  • Supervising direct reports in negotiating and documenting basic licensing deals
  • Contributing to the management of the Legal team
  • Providing constructive feedback and development suggestions to grow the team
  • Completing appraisals, and performing follow-up to ensure plans and targets are attained

Other General Activities

  • Work effectively with departmental colleagues on a cross-functional and cross-territory basis
  • Assist with the ongoing review and re-drafting of certain contract precedents
  • Adhere to defined Disney Media Distribution business practices, taking opportunities to improve them where available
  • Drive to develop knowledge of the product slate, distribution media and the territory environment (including customers and market dynamics) on a continuing basis

Basic QualificationsExperience and skills required:

  • LLB or Degree/LPC
  • Qualified as solicitor or barrister
  • Experienced commercial lawyer
  • Detailed knowledge of Contract and Commercial Law
  • Television and/or new media experience (particularly in distribution and licensing) in-house or private practice
  • Significant post qualification experience (preferably both private practice and in-house) of intellectual property licensing, particularly in the fields of television programming, channel distribution and/or digital media
  • Working knowledge of EU regulatory issues e.g. relating to competition matters, digital distribution, broadcasting and copyright exploitation
  • Team management/ leadership experience
  • French language / French legal qualification desirable but not essential

All Disney roles require you to have the right to work in the UK.

Apply now

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