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The Walt Disney Co. doesn’t want to see its streaming subscriber numbers flatline, and it is pulling out all the stops to convince consumers to buy-in, using this week’s Disney+ Day as the event to tie its efforts together.
On Wednesday, the company announced a wave of Disney+ subscriber perks, spanning its theme parks, merchandise, cruise lines, and even theatrical movies, meant to reinforce the notion that a Disney+ subscription gets you more than just movies and TV shows, and to underscore what Disney can offer that most of its competitors cannot.
Just how powerful is Disney? It convinced AMC, the largest movie theater chain in the world, to celebrate the streaming service that for the past two years has kept some titles out of theaters altogether.
From Sept. 8-19, AMC will screen Disney films like Encanto, Rogue One, Cars and Thor: Ragnarok, with $5 tickets. Buyers of those tickets will get a Disney+ poster, and a concession discount. Disney also extended its offer with Uber, giving Disney+ subscribers 6 free months of Uber One.
But its with the company’s own holdings that Disney really pushes the envelope with the perks a streaming service can deliver.
Disney+ subscribers will be able to take advantage of a buy two, get two free offer on Disney Cruises, and Walt Disney World will roll out a discount offer for subscribers as well. And on Sept. 8, Disney+ subscribers with tickets to any Disney theme park will be able to enter 30 minutes before they officially open.
Disney is also giving Disney+ subscribers 6 free months of a Net Geo digital subscription for free, and access to an exclusive merchandise portal with Disney goods designed around Disney+ originals.
Disney also plans on rolling out a $1.99 Disney+ offer for new and returning subscriber, and is planning additional perks for Disney+ subscribers attending the D23 expo, including a premiere screening of Pinocchio.
It’s a lot to take in, and it is clearly meant to be. While other streaming services could roll out exclusive merch tied to their shows and films, Disney simply has a bigger sales platform to do so. The only other entertainment company that could offer a theme park deal is NBCUniversal, and its parks have almost no thematic overlap with its streaming service Peacock (in fact, visitors to Universal Orlando will find themselves surrounded by Disney+ staples like Marvel superheroes and The Simpsons). No other company can offer a cruise deal, or perks for a fan convention (at least not until Warner Bros. Discovery figures out its DC Fandome replacement).
As Disney weighs getting into the subscription bundle business with a product that combines the physical world and streaming world, Disney+ day seems like a testbed for what’s possible in that bundle.
And it is also sending a message to Netflix, Peacock, Paramount+ and HBO Max that it has plenty of levers to pull as it seeks to grow its subscriber base.
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