Episode 64: Disney+ Lessons Learned for Your Next Launch - pixiedustandprofits.com

Episode 64: Disney+ Lessons Learned for Your Next Launch

Jul 19, 2022



We’re continuing our Summer Series this week. As usual, we come to you with ideas from the Mouse on how you can better run your online business, but this Summer we’re spending some much-deserved quality time with some of our older and most popular episodes.

This week, we’re revisiting In Episode 012, where we talked all about the launch of Disney+ and one of Disney’s biggest Hot Mess Express launches. It feels weird to think about planning movie nights without the platform now, but during the launch, things got tricky, especially for Canadian streamers! But what that experience did provide was a pivotal example of what a launch might look like (read: not perfect), and the benefits of offering bundles while launching. 

The benefits of bundling 

When Disney+ was preparing to launch, they began sending their target audience (Disney pass holders/vacationers/club members) emails to build excitement and pre-pay for the streaming service ahead of launch day. This was a risky move because, well, there wasn’t even a full or verified list of what was going to be ON the service yet! 

But, that didn’t stop a lot of people from signing up – and that’s because Disney sweetened the deal with exclusive bundle offers that made it pretty impossible to say no. 

Bundling, or stacking offers, is about paying attention to what people on your list are willing to buy that you can pair together for a better price point. The Disney+ subscription had two different options:

  • The Disney+ standalone option for $6.99/month
  • The Disney+/Hulu/ESPN bundle for 12.99/month 

This was a smart bundling move on Disney’s part because ESPN is already under their ownership umbrella, and Hulu was a popular streaming service with an ever-growing streamer base. Plus, the bundling option saved streamers 33% if they had all of those three services on their own, so the possibility of cutting costs or saving that money was a big draw.

Proof that launching isn’t perfect

The most important thing to remember about launching is that your initial launch plan is a guideline — and not everything will go as planned. There are always going to be things that happen that are out of control or that you didn’t expect, and all of this is okay! You need to learn to be flexible and open to learning something new every single time you launch something. 

Let’s go back in time – to 1955 – when Disneyland first opened its doors to the public. 

It was a MESS! 

Guests at the gate tripled expectations, people were making fake tickets to try and sneak in, rides were breaking down, and on top of all of that, Walt Disney was in a dispute because of a plumbing strike! 

He had to decide the day it was supposed to open whether or not the park was going to have working water fountains OR working bathrooms. He chose bathrooms and was criticized for doing it just so people would be forced to buy drinks. It was not smooth sailing.

Cut to 2019 and the Disney+ launch. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, either. In the United States, those who pre-purchased and even those who paid on launch day experienced a TON of tech issues on the platform, including not being able to set up profiles and content being unable to load. In Canada, Disney fans were never even given the opportunity to pre-purchase, so everyone was forced to pay on launch day. They too experienced long wait times for the platform at significantly slower speeds. 

Our point? Disney’s launches have been bumpy, too. We’ve seen ALL types of launches, and hiccups happen! It’s frustrating at the time, definitely, but you learn from it and you optimize for next time, you don’t give up. 

What if Disney decided all those difficulties were too much and he decided to not open Disneyland? The horror!

Learning from the past 

When you’re going through your next launch, think about the fact that Disneyland didn’t have working fountains on the first day, and nearly didn’t have working toilets! Disney+ had tons of streaming issues. Nothing was perfect. 

For your launches, it helps to know that something is GOING to happen, and it’s how you turn it into a learning experience that matters.

We recommend, above all else, having a post-mortem after your launch day. Which is when you sit down post-launch and review what went well, what didn’t, your successes, challenges, and what you can do for next time. 

If a launch doesn’t go well, or as expected, there are ways to redeem your offers: 

  • Market your offer some more!
  • Tweak aspects of your offer that might not be working as expected
  • Start collecting more testimonials to build credibility/social proof
  • Get feedback on offers to make improvements
  • Bundle what you can to offer deals 

Looking forward: Episode updates!

There were so many great lessons to learn about launches from Disney+, and now, 3 years later, we’re definitely able to see that despite the hiccups the platform is seriously successful! 

Things that have stayed the same: 

  • Disney is still very much pushing their Disney+/Hulu/ESPN bundle. They began referring to this package as “The Disney Bundle” in order to make it more enticing for potential customers, despite the content on these platforms not being exclusive to Disney. 

Things that have changed: 

  • The obvious first change is the price, which has increased to 7.99/month, 79.99/year, and 19.99/month for the Disney Bundle. These price increases do reflect the inflation of other streaming services, and the bundle still saves you about 32% if you were to have each subscription separately.
  • Something else Disney+ changed is reducing the delay from getting something that was in theaters to the platform. It’s now only 45 days. (Remember having to wait MONTHS for this??) Reasons for this could be because viewership at cinemas is still low due to COVID, but also Disney is benefiting from building off the hype of the theatrical release, boosting engagement and subscription rates (because you’ll be locked in, not just a one-time payment for seeing a movie like at a theater). 

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want Disney+ in 2022? With all the MCU exclusive Disney+ shows, the lowest turnaround time from theaters to your living room (for Turning Red it was only 3 weeks!), and they even gave Jeff Goldblum a show for him to talk about…literally whatever he wants! If you’re not tuning in, you’re probably experiencing some definite FOMO. 

Stay tuned as we cover the rest of our Summer Series and revisit some of our best episodes!

Download the original transcript right here

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