Brand Gym
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Brand Gym

What is the winning brand strategy for Disney+ made of?

Disney+ offers a 7 day trial on its website but uses a distribution strategy through bundles and partnerships that gives away up to 6 months for free.

Disney+, Disney’s streaming platform, got to 10 million users one day after its launch in the USA last year. In April 2020 it arrived to 50 million subscribers around the world.

Disney+’s magical world was born already a unicorn, and on November 17th, arrived in Brazil (where I happen to live).

Disney Plus Android App

The service is an attempt to reach directly Disney’s consumers by building a DTC (direct to consumer) platform — that makes sense since the way we consume content has shifted so much in the last decade. Bob Iger, Disney’s ex-CEO, tells how the idea became reality in his book “The Ride of a Lifetime”.

What we see here as a go to market strategy is that, while Netflix gives away a 30 days free trial, Disney promises only 7 days, but distributes its product in bundles through partnerships with other brands that can reach up to 6 free months of use. It is a deal with carriers, retailers and others, that expands Disney+ reach fast enough with only one condition: a year membership.

Disney might be the big global company with the best brand strategy I know about. I pay attention to each of its decisions trying to imagine the debates that took place behind closed doors so Disney’s streaming arrived to us with this brand name: Plus.

In my imagination, the story took place like this: Once upon a time, in a meeting room…

… A discussion that might have been about having a platform for each one of its brands, such as ESPN+, or having only one platform concentrating the totality of the content. That debate ended real quick: in one meeting it was realized that multiple platforms, for Marvel, NatGeo and Pixar, would be a management and sales nightmare. And, there’s also the fact that one family will subscribe to one, maybe two, maximum three streaming platforms. Marketing would be too expensive and each of them would have a content deficit.

First obstacle passed. Let’s move on to the next discussion.

What brand should this new streaming service carry? This meeting had a lot of battles. One team thought it was better to create a new brand; the other one said the cost to build a new brand was too high. A team said Marvel along with Disney is the biggest absurd they have ever heard of and that “we can’t mix heroes and princesses” — like princesses weren’t heroes.

Disney Plus Brands

In the dispute, wins the bond of the brands beneath the leader: Disney. The only brand capable of opposing the 195 million Netflix subscribers. The only one that can fight with the hiper-capitalized Amazon Prime Video, that is already transmitting live sport events in the UK and planning to enter Prime Gaming.

And if it goes wrong? And if people don’t like it? If tech breaks? If the product doesn’t work? If the churn peaks after the 6 free months? If Marvel contaminates Disney? If Star Wars loses strength? We are risking our best brand!

There’s no time to get a new brand ready for the game. We need to win this. And, for winning, the brand is Disney. Maybe Disney with something else. A Plus.

Sometimes it takes the heroes courage to make simple decisions.



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Guta Tolmasquim

Guta Tolmasquim


Empreendedora e especialista em branding, descobrindo como medir marcas de forma eficiente. Founder da Brand Gym e atualmente CEO do Purple Metrics.