Disney Plus’ plan for in-app gaming and shopping is the next big step in streaming evolution

Disney Plus homepage and Originals Collection
(Image credit: Future / Disney)

In a world where the best streaming services are constantly expanding their offerings, Disney Plus is the latest platform to put forward a potential new way of watching movies and shows that also includes gaming and shopping experiences. 

Update 11/12/23: Disney Plus asked us to clarify that it's currently only exploring "shopping and gamification within the ad experience" on the streaming service, rather than in a broader sense. A spokesperson told us "we aren’t adding gaming or commerce specifically to Disney Plus today" but that "we’re beginning to think about the gamification of the ad experience"

That’s right. Disney Plus subscribers could soon be playing games and shopping while binging their favorite TV shows and movies if the streamer decides to go ahead with the new offerings. Following the launch of Disney Plus’ subscription bundles (including a standard plan with ads), the platform is considering launching new channels to further enhance the experience on its app, while at the same time attracting more advertisers and brands. 

Speaking to Variety, president of Disney’s advertising sales Rita Ferro hinted that the next steps in Disney Plus’ expansion will hone in on the interactive sides of streaming for both users and advertisers. There’s not a lot of information out there about what to expect, but the company plans to announce more on its interactive integrations at a presentation at CES 2024 in Las Vegas on January 10, according to Ferro. 

Disney Plus Star Wars landing page

(Image credit: Disney)

Disney’s latest business move reflects the company’s effort to find new ways to increase its membership numbers while finding a means of getting more from its existing subscribers. The first step in Disney Plus’ plan to increase numbers started when it introduced an ad-based subscription tier, tapping into the growing popularity of AVOD (advertising-based video on demand) and following suit with Netflix’s ad-supported subscription. It was also recently announced that Amazon Prime Video would be adding an ad version to its streaming service, implementing a similar membership tier system.

According to Disney, the inception of its more affordable subscription tiers saw 50% of new customers opting for its membership plan with ads. In addition, Disney reports that engagement on its platform increased by 35% between March and September of 2023. The streaming outlet is continuing to provide more opportunities for external brands to get involved, initially by expanding options for commercial lengths. Advertisers can now pitch commercials as little as 15 seconds, or as long as 90 seconds, as well as sponsor seasonal content packages on the Disney Plus platform.

You can expect to hear more about what Disney has in store for its gaming and shopping channels in 2024 at its CES presentation in Las Vegas on January 10.

You might also like

Editorial Associate

Rowan is an Editorial Associate and Apprentice Writer for TechRadar. A recent addition to the news team, he is involved in generating stories for topics that spread across TechRadar's categories. His interests in audio tech and knowledge in entertainment culture help bring the latest updates in tech news to our readers.