When I was a child, my mother did not want me to watch any movies rated PG-13 and up. So, she instead would only let me watch anything with Disney. Since we could not afford to go to the movies, she went to the local corner store and would ask for bootleg VHS tapes of these movies for me to watch, some of which included Lion King and Little Mermaid (it ended up being in Spanish but I still watched). Maybe it is because of this conditioning, but I still love Disney and all of its animated movies. Many years later Disney announced its Disney Plus subscription, I instantly ordered it. What caught my attention was all of the content it had. This content revolved around not only Disney, but also all of the other companies under its massive umbrella. Disney’s digital marketing, both direct and indirect, is why the company is thriving.
For most of my life, I thought Disney made most of its money from its amusement parks. Then came Disney Plus in late 2019, and Disney’s dominance over many industries came into existence with all the content going into the app. From 20th Century Fox to the History Channel, Disney Plus had a sleuth of shows for all to watch. When COVID happened, Disney reported a $1 billion loss due to the closing of its parks in its second quarter, and then $3.5 billion in Q3. I honestly thought that one of my childhood dreams of going to Disney World would never happen. This is when Disney Plus took over being the dominant source of revenue for the company.
With most of the world in lockdown, people had nothing else to do but watch shows and movies from streaming sources. Disney Plus gained the most subscribers the first month in of shutdown (March-April) with a jump from 33.5 million to 50 million subscribers. Now, here comes the core network behaviors, specifically access, customize and engage on Disney’s digital marketing plan:
- Access- This behavior is about being accessible to everyone. When Disney Plus was announced, its subscription fee was $6.99, undercutting competition, predominately Netflix, whose cheapest fee was $8.99. With the combination of a lower price and the current state of the world, Disney Plus became a hub for all to watch.
- Customize- Adapting to one’s users is what customizing is all about. This is where Disney finally showed its hand, and showed the world how much it actually owns. You have children? Disney has shows for them. Maybe you are Star Wars geek? Disney’s got them. Or maybe you want to learn about wild animals? Yup, Disney has shows about them too.
- Engage- In today’s world of ad block and a lesser attention span, companies need another way to catch the users’ eyes rather than the standard TV ad. Disney directly engages with its customers with the announcement of Disney Plus. It brings in the nostalgia of old shows/movies with the addition of new shows, movies and media from the said companies from before. It indirectly engages through all of its companies. From Marvel to Star Wars, we as the users watch these media outlets without knowing it is owned by Disney until you either see them on Disney Plus or by research.
The picture you see above is actually from 2019. Two years later, Disney has not stopped its role out on buying more companies. It’s as if Disney had stockpiled these entities just in case something were to happen, and use their shows to help when disaster struck. Last week, it announced that Disney Plus’s subscriber base hit 86.8 million. With the announcement of more shows and movies, Disney seems to be in a great spot. Plus, its amusement parks are still not even fully open. COVID actually has changed Disney’s brand. The company slowly integrated to go digital, but due to the pandemic, it had to hasten this project in order to save itself from the loss of its parks. With the marketing plan of its streaming app, Disney has been able to reinvent itself and now is a forerunner in the media industry.
So, what do think? Do you own Disney Plus? What’s your opinion on the all the companies Disney owns? Do you think Disney’s marketing plan was a success?