Corporate synergy is something the Walt Disney Company has been focused on for a long time. When a new film or show is released, there are many other elements surrounding this release that Disney do, to make more money. This could be releasing merchandise alongside the film, having a video game tie-in timed around the latest release, or a new meet & greet character experience at the Disney theme parks.
If you’ve ever visited a Disney theme park, you’ll often see this corporate synergy on full display, with banners for the latest films and shows on buses and buildings. It’s not new, but according to the Wall Street Journal, Disney is looking at creating a new membership program that could offer discounts or special perks to encourage customers to spend more on its streaming services, theme parks, resorts and merchandise.
This could be similar to how Amazon Prime works, which offers a variety of discounts to members, including free shipping and video on demand. It’s unclear if this new membership program will be completely brand new or incorporated into Disney+.
Disney does already have a membership program, D23, which is the official Disney Fan Club. This offers members a special annual gift, a quarterly magazine, discounts and special merchandise. There are also special events that take place throughout the year, such as the upcoming Hocus Pocus event in Salem and the D23 Expo, which takes place this month in Anaheim. Membership to the D23 costs $99.99 to $129.99 a year. However, the new membership program would be different in that it would be targeted at more casual Disney fans and customers.
Prior to the launch of Disney+, the UK had a streaming service called “DisneyLife”, which offered subscribers free shipping vouchers at the Disney Store, plus a 10% discount (which I used on many occasions!)
The discussions about a membership program are still in the early stages, and it’s not known how much Disney would charge for this membership or how long it would be until it’s launched. It could be a while off or never happen.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek is supporting this new idea and has been very vocal both internally and publicly about the opportunity for Disney to do more to cross-sell to customers.
Kristina Schake, senior executive vice president and chief communications officer at Disney, said in a statement regarding the new membership offering.
“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. A membership program is just one of the exciting ideas that is being explored.”
Disney is also looking to incorporate shopping opportunities into Disney+, such as offering merchandise such as T-shirts, themed accessories and children’s costumes associated with films and shows, by scanning a QR code on the service that links to the Shop Disney website. Other plans include offering Disney+ subscribers access to purchase exclusive merchandise, such as a toy version of a “dark saber”.
This new shopping experience is expected to launch on Disney+ later this year. This might also tie in with the upcoming ad-supported tier launching in December in the US and then rolling out internationally in 2023. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Disney also promoting its other products and services, such as its Disney Theme Parks, Disney Cruise Line or Adventures By Disney trips, within Disney+.
Disney has discussed adding perks to the membership program from third parties, such as discounts on tickets for Disney shows on Broadway.
This new membership could be incorporated into Disney+, similar to Amazon Prime, to give a revenue boost to the platform and offer more value to subscribers, especially as competition within the streaming video market has grown. However, it could also be a completely different program, but incorporating this into Disney+ would seem more likely and gather a much larger casual fan base, which is what Disney is after. Especially if Disney+ can hit 200+ million subscribers by 2024. Disney+ would be the most logical way of reaching a mass audience and also offer subscribers additional benefits, which helps both Disney and consumers.
Would you like to see Disney+ provide more offers?
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.