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Posted in FierceVideo
May 28, 2021

2021 Emerging Leaders – Disney Streaming’s Alexandria Shealy

The Fierce Video editorial team is proud to present its second annual Emerging Leaders Awards, recognizing the brightest young professionals rising up the ranks of the streaming TV industry. Throughout the months of May and June we’ll be featuring these profiles with each of our finalists. We will announce the winners during our StreamTV Show with an awards ceremony June 17 at 3:15 p.m. ET. Not yet registered for the StreamTV Show, running June 15-17? Be sure to register now and save your spot at this free virtual event!

Alexandria Shealy/Disney Streaming:

In the 10 years Alexandria Shealy has spent in the video engineering space, she has been a key player in shaping and launching many of consumer products. Starting her career at MLB Advanced Media, she rose through the ranks as a project manager and engineering leader, working with software teams to launch Disney+, ESPN+, NHL.tv, HBO Now and more. Throughout her career, Alex has led teams to build many of the core media pipeline systems in place for Disney’s streaming technology; from packaging and digital ad insertion capabilities to media supply chain orchestration to live and VOD content management tooling. She now leads a global team developing quality of service and targeting capabilities for a combined Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+ streaming platform.

What her colleagues are saying:

“Alex Shealy is a dynamic leader who has demonstrated an ability to drive critical improvements across multiple domains at Disney Streaming.  Alex now leads our Quality, Targeting, & Experience group, bringing a strong strategic vision, collaborative style, and inspiring energy.” — Nick Brookins, vice president of software and infrastructure at Disney Streaming

“As an exceptional leader, Alex Shealy not only brings a wealth of domain expertise within the media industry but has the unique ability to unify people, teams and organizations in a collaborative process to achieve goals.” — Matt Krone, vice president of software engineering at Disney Streaming

Streaming Industry Q&A:

What streaming services do you subscribe to? 

Disney+, Hulu (with Live TV of course), Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max and The Criterion Channel.

Describe your biggest career highlight so far.

Launching Disney+. While I’d seen my fair share of nail-biting launches, this one felt particularly special for the amount of time and effort that my team had put into it. Being able to launch to a global audience on day 1 with a sizable catalog of 4K UHD content felt like we’d achieved what we set out to do without making compromises. Seeing how much customers really loved the product (and Baby Yoda) was a massive motivation for the next wave of complex projects helping to make sure our content pipeline was able to scale with the demand while ensuring our operators could maintain a high standard of A/V quality control.

What has been your biggest career learning experience?

I don’t think I can point to a single experience or event but one that has had the biggest impact on my career is coming to terms with the fact that the streaming technology space is really made up of a bunch of tenacious technologists who’re still all figuring it out. When I started in the industry, I thought my leaders all had the solutions and knew how everything worked. But as I worked through long nights preparing for launch after launch and each time I had to write a detailed RCA for an issue I knew I should’ve seen coming, I learned that there wasn’t a single person who just got everything about the space and had all of the answers. Becoming comfortable adapting to the latest challenge even if there is no blueprint by developing a willingness to always ask the ‘silly’ questions and realizing half the room has the same question themselves has been the most impactful thing I’ve learned in my career so far.

What’s next for you in terms of new challenges in streaming TV?

I’m incredibly excited to be leading a global team at Disney Streaming challenged to optimize how we deliver the best media playback decision to customers. I think as more of the world has access to streaming on multiple devices, we must anticipate how customers want to stream and more deeply understand what their network, device and the content they choose will allow them to do. If we want to reach more people, we’re going to need to be as specific as possible in what we deliver. We have to make sure the experience is highly adaptable and our ability to make changes is as seamless as possible without compromising quality. I’m particularly excited to see how we evolve our services to support less capable devices in network challenged areas where we may only be one of a few streaming services available.

FierceVideo May 28, 2021 at 08:11PM Ben Munson

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