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Disney Exploring Membership Program Combining Streaming, Theme Parks, Consumer Products

The Walt Disney Co. is reportedly considering offering consumers a branded membership program that would meld its Disney+ streaming video platform with theme parks, resorts, consumer products and other company businesses.

First disclosed by The Wall Street Journal, which cited internal sources, the membership plan would try to emulate the Amazon Prime concept that affords members with free access to streaming video, music, reading, games and two-day shipping, among other perks.

The unnamed plan is still in its infancy but seeks to cross-promote Disney brands to consumers, while softening the escalating retail price of some individual properties such as the admission price to Disneyland.

“Technology is giving us new ways to customize and personalize the consumer experience so that we are delivering entertainment, experiences and products that are most relevant to each of our guests,” Kristina Schake, senior EVP and chief communications officer at Disney, said in a statement. “A membership program is just one of the exciting ideas that is being explored.”

While recent price hikes at Disney’s theme parks led to record quarterly operating profit ($1.65 billion) and revenue ($5.42 billion) despite lower attendance, the membership program, for example, could offer hotel, food and parking discounts.

Membership programs aren’t new to Disney, which has long offered consumers annual passport options to theme parks. The company currently markets the annual D23 Official Fan Club platform (priced from $99.99) that affords consumers access to exclusive events, merchandise and three-year membership to Disney+.

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In December, Disney will roll out its previously announced Disney+ price hikes and ad supported SVOD option (Disney+ Basic), upping the Disney+ Premium (without ads) monthly fee three dollars to $10.99 and $109.99 annually. The ad-supported Basic plan will cost $7.99 — the same price as the current Disney+ subscription fee.

“With our new ad-supported Disney+ offering and an expanded lineup of plans across our entire streaming portfolio, we will be providing greater consumer choice at a variety of price points to cater to the diverse needs of our viewers and appeal to an even broader audience,” Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement last month.

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