On Friday Disney announced in front of a room of company executives and reporters new mobile apps and products heading to devices between now and April.
Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger started off the presentation by recounting conversations with Apple’s Steve Jobs, including a relationship that initially ushered video content to the Apple iPod. Iger beamed as he spoke about Disney being the first studio to bring movies and TV shows to the new platform and stated that it has been the company’s goal in the last decade to continue to bring new content from all its divisions across mobile devices. Unlike other media companies, CBS most vocally, Disney has positioned its products to be streamed or downloaded across all platforms. Iger, in fact said that the industry is at an amazing point right now where Disney/ABC/ESPN can deliver its content, even live content to viewers and is a win for consumers.
Disney is not yet done. Here’s what’s new and coming from the Mouse-house in the world of mobile:
Jimmy Pitaro president of Disney Interactive started off talking about rebuilding disney.com to be more responsive and mobile friendly. He then announced Disney Infinity 2.0 for iOS, designed with Apple’s Metal, the companion app for Disney Infinity allows you take your Disney Infinity world on the go. We had a brief time demoing the new version on the iPad and iPhone and it looks much better in terms of detail, shadowing, and responsiveness than the original OpenGL version. The 2.0 version, will be available on the iPhone now, not just on the iPad, and allows for multi-player functionality. Disney Infinity 2.0 Mobile will be available later this year on most newer iPhones (5 and above) and iPads.
ESPN’s executive vice president of Digital and Print Media John Kosner and Ryan Spoon, senior vice president of Digital Product Management announced a redesign to its website, expect that change to roll out April 1, 2015, coincidentally ESPN’s 20th anniversary. Additionally, right around the time of the Super Bowl, ESPN will streamline all of its apps, including rebranding the SportsCenter app to simply ESPN. As part of this change, the look and feel will be similar across all experiences: Desktop, Mobile and App.
Disney/ABC Television Group
Disney/ABC Television Group shared information about its relaunched WATCH services especially from WATCH ABC’s Social Lens feature, which allows you to tweet and post Facebook posts while you’re watching ABC shows from the App, all without having to shut down the app. WATCH ABC also added a new feature that allows you to share clips you find particularly amusing with your social buddies across the web. If you haven’t tried it out yet, I suggest you do, especially if you’re a social sharer of ABC’s Scandal.
The Walt Disney Studios already announced Disney Movies Anywhere earlier this year on iOS and then released the system on Android earlier this month. The Studios will begin offering the platform on VUDU starting Nov. 18. Buying a Disney film through DMA will allow users to keep them regardless of Android or iOS, and now it will allow content to be played using VUDU-enabled devices without having to worry about platform compatibility.
Maker Studios, a recent acquisition by Disney, discussed its Maker Axis platform that allows creators to push content and communicate with followers on its new platform. Ryan Lissack, the CTO of Maker Studios, says more than 10 video hubs have launched with responsive sites and apps.
Disney also announced a new learning brand, Disney Imagicademy, which will serve parents and children in the learning marketplace. While specifics weren’t announced about the platform Andrew Sugerman, EVP or Disney Publishing Worldwide said “mobile will be a key part of Imagicademy, it is so much more and we believe it will be unique and different from anything else on the market today.” Additional details will be announced in New York City on Dec. 4 when it will be officially unveiled.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts talked about all the enhancements coming to its parks, especially mobile apps and the MyMagic+ /FastPass+ program. We will talk more about MyMagic+ in a later post from my own experience. This platform allows you to load up your wearable with park admission, payment options, FastPass into one easy to use package. And staring Friday MagicBand has one added benefit, it will be able to unlock an It’s a Small World experience when placed on the Infinity base.
In addition to MyMagic+, guests can now text each other on Disney cruise ships using an app; Guests can also enjoy games using mobile devices at Epcot and at Disney California Adventure.
While we were presented a quick glimpse of what Disney has in store for mobile devices the message was clear that Disney and all its subsidiaries plan to deliver its content across all devices. In closing the message was, this is an exciting time for the industry that is looking at a ton of change, and that change will be for the better. Meaning consumers will get the content (in the form of movies, shows, games and other interactive ways) they want, when they want and where they want, be in on a TV, desktop, or mobile device.