There are people who love Disney and people who love Disney, and then there are people who LOVE Disney, in all caps and italicized. For those people, and presumably no one else, the company is reportedly prepping some kind of new membership program that The Wall Street Journal compares to Amazon Prime—with some people referring to the project as “Disney Prime,” though everyone stresses that that won’t be the name.
The idea, apparently, is to create some kind of brand-wide subscription that will “encourage customers to spend more on its streaming services, theme parks, resorts, and merchandise” with “discounts or special perks.” The Wall Street Journal doesn’t know how much this might cost or when this might launch, as it all sounds pretty early, but one aspect of it might come by the end of this year with the potential introduction of a “retail feature” on Disney+ where subscribers on that platform can buy exclusive merchandise “by scanning a QR code” on the screen.
This all just seems like an efficient way to separate Disney fans from their money by making them pay for Disney+, Disney World, and Frozen toys or whatever all in one bundle, but the Wall Street Journal story notes that a membership program would also help Disney collect data on what its biggest and most loyal customers are into. The story cites an example that says someone at a Disney park could ride the Star Wars rides over and over again, and because their account would be linked to Disney+, then Disney+ would know to promote Star Wars programming to them.
That sounds a little darker and even more explicitly Amazon-like than just bundling products together, since it would almost certainly be tracking more than just what rides you go on (like what products you buy or food you eat while at one of its parks), so it’s going to come down to the question of whether or not the benefits of the bundle outweigh that cost. Luckily, if Disney is smart about marketing it to the right people, it can find plenty of customers who will be eager to pay for the privilege of having Disney analyze their lives.