Can Disney marry streaming and shopping?
The Walt Disney Company last week launched a “limited test” in the U.S. that will allow Disney+ subscribers to shop exclusive merchandise from franchises like “Star Wars,” “Black Panther” and “Frozen” through the Disney+ app.
Disney+ subscribers can visit shopDisney.com/DisneyPlusSpecialAccess or go to the details pages for select movies, series and shorts on Disney+ and scan QR codes to get access to purchase merchandise about a week ahead of the general public.
The test is part of a broader effort to integrate Disney’s two main business lines — Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution (DMED) and Disney Parks, Experiences and Products (DPEP) — via Disney+ with a goal of developing Disney+ into a lifestyle brand app.
“It’s the physical and digital aspects of your Disney lifestyle coming together,” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek in mid-October at The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference. Integrating consumer data across divisions and using information about customer habits is expected to support customized products and cross-selling efforts.
In September, Disney offered Disney+ subscribers discounts to Walt Disney World hotels in Florida and has confirmed it is exploring offering members special access to theme parks and resorts.
Amazon and Apple have bundled discounts and streaming videos and music offerings but haven’t directly linked product selling to their shows. Netflix also has products available at Walmart, Target and online, but does not link them to broadcasts.
Furthest along appears to be Comcast’s NBCUniversal (NBCU), which in 2019 began introducing shoppable content aligned with shows. Viewers scanned QR codes on their TV screens to be funneled into an e-commerce storefront. More recently, the service has been extended to a “Shop the Scenes” virtual shopping platform.
Writing for TechCrunch, Sarah Perez said the early product access should appeal to Disney fans since many are collectors. She added, “Plus, being marketed alongside shows and movies is one of the best spots to list these products for sale. The only question is whether or not streaming viewers will actually want to fiddle with their phone while they’re relaxing by watching TV.”
- Special Access to shopDisney Merchandise Now Available for Disney+ Subscribers as Limited Test Experience in U.S. – Walt Disney/WebWire
- Disney to Offer Toy and Merchandise Deals via Disney+ App – The Wall Street Journal
- Disney Tries Mixing Streaming With Shopping – The New York Times
- NEW Disney World Hotel Discount Announced for Disney+ Subscribers – Walt Disney
- Disney+ expands into e-commerce with an exclusive merch shop for subscribers – TechCrunch
- Inside Jill Martin’s Immersive Shoppable TV Platform – WWD
- Shop The Scenes
- Are shoppable ads finally ready for prime time? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How would you rate the viability of selling themed merchandise alongside certain Disney+ shows and films? Has the technology advanced enough to support couch-potato shopping from streaming services?