Disney+ to soon launch in-app commerce features to stand up the Amazon Competition


Disney is exploring allowing users of the Disney+ app to purchase themed merchandise and accessories by scanning a QR code. Users can purchase branded goods from the company’s website by scanning the QR code, which directs them there.

According to a WSJ report, Disney intends to launch these in-app commerce features later this year with exclusive merchandise for Disney+ subscribers, like a Darksaber toy from the first Star Wars live-action series “The Mandalorian.”

After last month’s announcement of a price increase for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ subscriptions, which is set to take effect in December, this might be another money-maker for Disney.

At the same time, the company will launch a $7.99 per month Disney+ ad-supported plan with a four-minute maximum for ads each hour. It’s unclear if some of these commercials will also feature Disney-related product advertisements.

The WSJ report claims that the company’s push for in-app shopping is a part of a bigger strategy to launch an Amazon Prime-like subscription that would get users exclusive access to or discounts on a variety of Disney items, including streaming, theme parks, resorts, and e-commerce. There are currently no other details regarding pricing or a launch date, despite a Disney spokesperson assuring Deadline that discussions of a membership plan have been verified.

“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 are being explored as we consider ways to marry the physical and digital worlds to create the next generation of great Disney storytelling and experiences,” a Disney spokesperson told Deadline.

The current trend is to include video streaming in a bigger package. Apple TV+ is available through Apple One, Amazon Prime offers Amazon Prime Video, and Walmart recently added Paramount+ to its Walmart+ membership programme. Video streaming might only be an add-on for current packages, but Disney might design a special bundle that places its streaming service front and centre.

Disney claimed in its Q3 2022 earnings that, when ESPN and Hulu were included, it had 221.1 million global customers, surpassing Netflix’s 220.7 million. The company reduced its subscriber projection for 2024 from 230–260 million to 215-245 million. The company also factored in the loss of Disney+ Hotstar’s digital streaming rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL) while making these projections.

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