Could Disney+ be going the way of Amazon? A new report suggests that before long, shopping and game experiences might be arriving on the streaming outlet, but is that really needed?
Disney+ has always been a tricky thing to figure out. The initial idea was great: a place for exclusive Disney shows and movies and originals for Star Wars and MCU shows, among others. However, since its launch in 2019, the streamer has had issues holding onto subscribers despite exclusive offerings.
It wasn’t helped that Disney decided to remove several of its original shows just to save some money. The streamer is trying to change it up by adding an ad-supported tier and recently merging with Hulu for a single app.
Now, per Variety, Rita Ferro, president of Disney Advertising Sales, hinted that the streamer could soon add shopping and game experiences. This is a build-up to a big Disney presentation set for Las Vegas on January 10th.
“The world of advertising experiences on AVOD is an important place to be involved in,” Ferro told Variety, hinting that at the presentation Disney would reveal “what the next level of ad innovations will be” from the company.
According to Ferro, Disney+ has seen a 35 percent increase in time spent on the streamer since adding the ad-supported tier and their sponsor base has expanded from 100 clients in the U.S. to 1,000 around the world.
Yet a change like this would be pretty huge and shake up Disney+ more. Is it really needed?
Why making Disney+ like Amazon is a bad move
This could change Disney+ into something more like Amazon. On the one hand, it’s easy to see why Disney would be so tempted by it. A single-stop online place to not just watch Disney content but order merchandise and play Disney games is appealing to some viewers. Kids already use the service to watch a lot of Disney programming, so adding some Disney-themed games is a logical move.
Disney would obviously put in more ads for merchandise and even the opportunity to win special prizes. If nothing else, it seems better to consolidate Disney’s online presence on Disney+.
However, there are issues as Disney is already trying to figure out merging Disney+ and Hulu into a single app. Adding on things like games (which notoriously can be tricky to play off some streamers) and shopping is something else.
There's also the technical side as folks know full well the more ad-filled a site becomes, the slower it runs, especially streamers. Even with ad blockers, that means trying to stream Disney+ (especially in areas with rough Internet coverage) would become a slower experience that can only push customers away.
If anything, some Disney+ owners only use it to stream movies and shows, not anything extra. Transforming it into Amazon with ads all over the pages would only drive some people away, and that’s without the obvious issue that Disney may want to raise prices more with all this. While Netflix does have a gaming side, it doesn’t do open shopping as that can be a hassle, thanks to advertisers tracking customers too much for their liking.
Maybe this will be an inevitable move by Disney to get more folks using Disney+ and increase their revenue. Yet trying to make this streamer into a copy of Amazon can backfire as some folks will prefer Disney+ to be just for streaming programs, not a shopping/gaming center, as sometimes “one stop for all” isn’t as convenient as it seems.