According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Disney is looking for ways for viewers to purchase themed merchandise and accessories by scanning a QR code in the Disney+ app. Scanning the QR code leads users to the company’s website, where they can purchase branded items.
The WSJ report suggests Disney plans to introduce these in-app commerce features later this year, with some Disney+ subscriber items, such as a Darksaber toy from the first Star Wars live-action series “The Mandalorian.”
This could be another moneymaker for Disney after it announced a price increase on subscriptions for Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ last month, expected to take effect from December.
At the same time, the company is launching an ad-supported subscription of $7.99 per month for Disney+ with a limit of four minutes of advertising per hour. It’s not clear if some of these commercials will also show ads for Disney merchandise.
According to the WSJ report, the in-app commerce push is part of a larger plan by the company to introduce an Amazon Prime-like subscription that will allow special access or discounts for various Disney products, such as streaming, theme parks , resorts and e-commerce. While a Disney spokesperson confirmed discussions from a membership model to Deadline, there are no further details on pricing or launch timeline for now.
“Disney is more than a brand for our consumers, it’s a lifestyle, and we’re exploring how we can better serve them through our many touchpoints. A membership program is just one of the exciting ideas being explored as we consider ways to combine the physical and digital worlds to create the next generation of great Disney stories and experiences,” a Disney spokesperson told Deadline.
Offering video streaming as part of a larger bundle is in vogue. Amazon Prime offers Amazon Prime Video, Apple One offers Apple TV+, and Walmart recently added Paramount+ to its Walmart+ membership program. For these bundles, video streaming might just be an add-on, but Disney could create a unique package that puts its streaming product center stage.
In its Q3 2022 revenue, Disney noted that, including ESPN and Hulu, it registered a total of 221.1 million subscribers — better than Netflix, which reported 220.7 million subscribers worldwide. However, it lowered its subscriber forecast for 2024 from 230-260 million to 215-245 million. The company also took into account Disney+ Hotstar’s loss of the Indian Premier League (IPL) digital streaming rights in these forecasts.