Disney+ will launch in-app commerce features by the end of the year
Disney is looking into ways for viewers to purchase themed merchandise and accessories by scanning a QR code in the Disney+ app, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Scanning the QR code will take users to the company’s website, where they can buy branded items.
The WSJ report suggests that Disney is looking to introduce these trading features to the app later this year, with some Disney+ subscriber-only 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 for Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ last month, which is scheduled to take effect in December.
At the same time, the company will launch an ad-supported plan of $7.99 per month for Disney+ with a limit of four minutes of commercials per hour. It is not clear if any of these commercials will also feature ads for Disney merchandise.
According to The WSJ’s report, the in-app commerce push is part of a larger plan by the company to introduce an Amazon Prime-like subscription that could enable special access or discounts on various Disney products such as streaming, theme parks, resorts and e-commerce . While a Disney spokesperson confirmed discussions about a membership model to Deadline, there are no further details on pricing or a launch timeline yet.
“Disney is more than a brand to our consumers, it’s a way of life, and we’re exploring how we can better serve them across our many touchpoints. A membership program is just one of the exciting ideas being explored as we consider ways to unite the physical and digital worlds to create the next generation of great Disney storytelling and experiences,” a Disney spokesperson told Deadline.
Offering video streaming as part of a larger package is in vogue. Amazon Prime includes Amazon Prime Video, Apple One offers Apple TV+ and Walmart recently added Paramount+ to its Walmart+ membership program. For these packages, video streaming may just be an add-on, but Disney can create a unique package that keeps the streaming product at the center of things.
In its Q3 2022 results, Disney noted that, including ESPN and Hulu, it recorded 221.1 million total subscribers – beating Netflix, which reported 220.7 million subscribers globally. However, it lowered its subscriber forecast for 2024 from 230-260 million to 215-245 million. The company also factored in Disney+ Hotstar losing out on Indian Premier League (IPL) digital streaming rights in these forecasts.