Since May 2018, Brad Proctor has been Vice President of Multiplatform Programming and Distribution at National Geographic Partners. His job is taking National Geographic’s television content and putting it on other platforms, such as websites, apps, video on demand and streaming platforms like Hulu and Disney+.
As soon as it was announced that Disney+ would include content from National Geographic – along with Disney, Pixar, Marvel and “Star Wars" – Brad and his team immediately got to work.
“We knew we needed an ambitious strategy to live up to the promise of the brand alongside those other heavyweights,” Brad says. “We crafted a robust library package of everything National Geographic could offer to Disney+.”
Ultimately, over 600 hours of premium National Geographic content ended up on Disney+ on launch day in November 2019, including popular shows like “The Incredible Dr. Pol” and Academy Award-winning documentary “Free Solo.”
Brad’s team also worked closely with the production and development departments to define a strategy for creating original content for Disney+. The first show, “The World According to Jeff Goldblum,” debuted on launch day, and other programming is on its way.
1. You were very involved with the launch of Disney+. What character did you choose as your Disney+ profile photo and why?
I tend to be a nostalgic type, so I chose Pinocchio – one of my favorite classic Disney animated classic characters. The song “When You Wish Upon a Star” basically sums up the Disney brand and I can’t help but get sentimental whenever I hear it. Also, when I was a child, I related to Pinocchio’s struggle to be a “real boy” as I struggled with my own issues of the need to perform masculinity. I actually never made that connection until just now!
2. Speaking of streaming, what were your most streamed songs of 2019?
According to Spotify, my most streamed song of the year was a cover of “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” So random, but I love the hopefulness and optimism of that song. Beyond that, I am still hooked on “The Greatest Showman” album. Definitely a musical theater geek at heart.
3. You once wrote a musical with your roommate because you lost your cable and internet for a week. The show went on to premiere at the New York International Fringe Festival. If you lost your cable and internet for a week now, what do you think you’d end up doing with all of that free time?
Honestly, I’d probably write another musical! Without the distractions of the internet, a lot of creative things would get done.
4. You started your career in television as an intern for “Saturday Night Live.” What SNL cast member, past or present, would you pick to play you in a skit?
Oh, good question. I think my answer has to be Kristen Wiig – I was working at SNL on her first season in 2005, and she was always so nice to me. I imagine she’d play me as an extreme version of Kenneth the Page on “30 Rock.”
5. Where is your favorite place to explore?
I love exploring the backstage areas of Broadway theaters. There is so much history made there and most people don’t ever get to see it. Recently I was backstage at “Frozen” and feeling the magic happen onstage from behind the curtain was thrilling. Thinking about all the stars and shows that came through that very same theater is so exhilarating to me. “Frozen” is in the same theater that housed the original “Oklahoma!” and “The King and I” – such history has been made on that stage (and backstage!).
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.