Disney Brings Second Screens to the Movies


For the theatrical re-release of Disney’s classic animated film, The Little Mermaid, they are hosting an interactive version in select theaters for a limited time. Audiences are encouraged to bring their iPads to join in on the experience. 


The iPad app is geared towards unveiling new content associated with the film, including games, short clips, and sing alongs. The app makes the experience more social, by pitting audience members against each other in games. 


Why I’m Curious

Second-screen experiences are usually reserved for at-home experiences, where the user is distracted and wants to enhance the TV-series they are watching or distract themselves from commercials. In fact, while most users are watching TV, they are using search, browsing the web in general, or shopping. They are usually not engaging with an extended branded experience. 


For Disney, their objective is to sell more tickets to the theatrical release of the Little Mermaid, drive sales for upcoming theatrical releases and also to boost DVD/Download sales for The Little Mermaid. The second-screen experience may distract from the overall Little Mermaid Story and makes the movie-going experience more akin to an at-home experience. This dilutes the overall draw of theatrical releases, which could be detrimental to Disney’s overall goals. 

On the other hand, a second-screen experience dedicated to The Little Mermaid may drive DVD sales. At this point it is unclear whether the app will work with a DVD/Downloads, but if it did it would align with Disney’s objective to drive additional DVD sales, which is where most of the money is anyway. 



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