Disney confirmed that it’s considering launching a paid membership program that would provide exclusive discounts and benefits across its entire portfolio of products and services.
Details on the company’s potential membership program are sparse — right now, the initiative is at the drawing-board stage. What exactly it ends up looking like remains TBD, including what it would cost and what the specific perks would be.
Disney’s goal would be to create a personalized membership program to drive attendance at theme parks, cruises and movie theaters, boost subscriptions to Disney+ and its other streaming services, and spur sales of Disney merchandise.
The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, which said some execs have internally referred to the idea as “Disney Prime,” an allusion to Amazon Prime. But a company source denied that anyone is calling it “Disney Prime,” noting that it would be very different from Amazon Prime, which is geared primarily around free-shipping benefits.
“Technology is giving us new ways to customize and personalize the consumer experience so that we are delivering entertainment, experiences and products that are most relevant to each of our guests,” Kristina Schake, Disney’s chief communications officer at Disney, said in a statement. “Disney is more than a brand to our consumers, it’s a lifestyle, and we are exploring how to better serve them across our many touchpoints. A membership program is just one of the exciting ideas that is being explored as we consider ways to marry the physical and digital worlds to create the next generation of great Disney storytelling and experiences.”
Separately, Disney is working to integrate ecommerce features into Disney+ to let viewers purchase merch like T-shirts, toys or costumes associated with the streamer’s shows, by linking directly to the Shop Disney site. That could include offering products exclusively to Disney+ subs, like a darksaber from “The Mandalorian,” per the Journal report. But the Disney+ ecommerce features are being developed independently of Disney’s potential membership program.
This year, Disney launched a new cross-divisional Next Generation Storytelling initiative, which encompasses its “metaverse” ambitions. The group’s mandate is to work with Disney business units across games, film, TV, merchandise and parks to deliver “interconnected” consumer experiences. The effort is led by company veteran Mike White, Disney’s SVP of Next Generation Storytelling & Consumer Experiences, who recently hired Apple gaming exec Mark Bozon as head of creative strategy for the group.
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