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'Disney Prime' could be coming — everything we know so far

Disney Plus
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Nowadays it feels like there’s a subscription for everything, and there may well be another one on the horizon. Disney is said to be experimenting with the idea of its own subscription service as a rival to the likes of Amazon Prime.

According to The Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab), this subscription could give people special discounts or perks, in a bid to get them to spend more money on Disney products — be it streaming, theme parks, merchandise, or the myriad of other businesses Disney is involved in.

According to the report, discussions about the service are in early stages, but there are a few bits of information that the WSJ’s sources revealed. The first is that the service is being referred to as “Disney Prime” internally, meaning Disney is deliberately comparing its service to Amazon's. However this is not going to be the final name.

The second is that this service is aimed at the casual Disney customer, rather than the superfans. After all, Disney already offers a number of membership programs, including annual passes for Disney parks and the D23 fan club. 

One option being discussed would give Disney Plus subscribers the chance to scan QR codes and buy merchandise tied to the best Disney Plus shows (opens in new tab). This could be an option for everyone, though Disney Prime subscribers may then gain access to exclusive merchandise.

That includes subscriber-exclusive merch, such as a toy version of The Darksaber featured in The Mandalorian and other Star Wars series. Sources claim this feature could launch in Disney Plus as early as this year. Disney has also reportedly discussed offering discounts from third parties, one example being discounted tickets to Disney shows on Broadway.

It's likely that any kind of major subscription would include access to Disney's streaming services, which includes Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus. However, since Disney lacks the retail dominance of Amazon, the company may need to get creative with perks. Free two-day shipping isn't great if it only applies to Disney clothing and merchandise.

But no matter what form this Disney Prime subscription might take, the idea is to ensure Disney has more opportunity to “do more to cross-sell to customers'”  — something incumbent CEO Bob Chapek has supported publicly (opens in new tab)

This would give Disney the chance to acquire a large amount of customer data and preferences. From a customer standpoint, subscribers would have the option to save money as they spend.

Kristina Schake, senior executive vice president and chief communications officer at Disney told the WSJ that “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. A membership program is just one of the exciting ideas that is being explored.”

Disney wouldn’t be the first big corporation to follow in Amazon’s footsteps, and offer some sort of subscription-based service. Walmart has Walmart Plus, and recently started offering subscribers free access to Paramount Plus, while Apple offers significant discounts to anyone subscribing to Apple One. Then you have wholesale retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club, which offer members lower prices for buying in bulk alongside exclusive discounts — including cheap gas.

It’s not clear how long it might take for 'Disney Prime' to arrive or how much it might cost. We'll keep you posted as we learn more. 

Tom Pritchard
Automotive Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.