Disney is exploring an Amazon Prime-style membership program, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The program may offer various exclusive benefits, discounts and other enticements for subscribers to spend more money on Disney products and services. A secondary benefit would be to allow the company to gather more information about its customers’ tastes and habits, and improve its ability to cross-sell across its various businesses – from streaming services to theme parks to merchandise.
according to WSJ, the discussion about the membership program is very much in its early stages. It̵[ads1]7;s not clear which segments of Disney’s audience it would target, how much it would cost, or when the program might launch. Internally, some executives have referred to the project as “Disney Prime,” although that would not be the program’s name at launch.
Disney communications chief Kristina Schake confirmed the company is looking at a membership program in a statement WSJ. “Technology gives us new ways to personalize and customize the consumer experience so we deliver entertainment, experiences and products that are most relevant to each of our guests,” said Schake. “A membership program is just one of the exciting ideas being explored.”
Disney already offers a membership program of sorts: the D23 fan club, which costs $99.99 a year for one person or $129.99 for two (“23” refers to the year of Disney’s founding: 1923). Benefits include the ability to purchase exclusive items, a quarterly subscription Disney twenty three magazine, and discounted tickets to the D23 Expo, billed as the “ultimate Disney fan event.” The mentioned membership program would, however, be aimed at more informal fans, according to WSJ.
A primary benefit of a “Disney Prime” membership program would be that the company could target customers with more of its products. In a recent earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek referred to the company’s “franchise flywheel” and its ability to “reach people with our uniquely engaging content across a variety of touch points.” In other words: Disney owns a lot of content, from Marvel to Star Wars to Pixar and more; it has a streaming service, theme parks, resorts and is even building its own residential communities. Why not collect more of this and let people really live Disney.