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Why Disney Is Going Into Mobile Messaging

Photo of Karol Severin
by Karol Severin

Disney announced a launch of Disney Mix, a messaging platform aimed at kids, tweens and their families. This is an important case to watch because it shows that:

In a seemingly crowded space, there is still room for niche media platforms to integrate messaging functionalities and benefit from a reinforcement of community and engagement.Games are becoming more closely integrated with messaging platforms, as we move from an economy of siloed apps to economies of fluid mobile command and consumption centres.

Our Mobile Messaging Platforms report last month showed a cumulative 6.5 billion monthly active messaging app users. This staggering number was reached because an average messaging user has multiple messaging apps installed - and that’s precisely the point. Consumers are content with adopting a multitude of messaging apps for different use cases and for communication with different social groups. Despite the messaging giants like Facebook or Tencent dominating much of the space already, there is an opportunity for platforms defined by common cultural identifiers like video, music, or lifestyle to solidify their sense of community by integrating mobile messaging. Disney clearly recognized this:

Messaging for children is a largely untapped market: The average age of receiving a first smartphone in the US is 10.3 years old. The behemoth messaging apps in the US, like Messenger, Snapchat, or Whatsapp are all rated at least 12+ (with Whatsapp – the largest of them all officially requiring 16 years of age to become a user). Disney Mix is rated 4+. That allows them to target young kids specifically by catering to their nuanced needs and preferences, while retaining parents on their side.The value of Disney Mix: Disney Mix is free to use and does not offer in-app purchases. The value for Disney comes in bringing its community of consumers together as well as introducing the brand to new consumers, who might just bump into Disney on their search for a kid-catering messaging app. For it to successfully scale however, Disney Mix has to become loved by its current brand consumers first. Just as important of course is the exposure of Disney characters and brands via stickers, emojis etc.

Playing Games Inside The Chat Screen

Our forthcoming report argues that as messaging apps integrate additional services and become hotspots of digital user congregation, games will start to move away from being standalone competing silos and integrate closer to the interfaces of mobile messaging platforms. Disney Mix does just that, as it allows users to play games inside the chat screen. This is likely to prove a powerful feature, because it mitigates friction between separate mobile activities within a single ecosystem. It is a way to turn potential self-cannibalization into synergy.

Expect more media platforms to move in this space, not to compete with Facebook or Tencent, but to take step closer towards the mobile consumer , reinforce brand relations, and to be ready when these increasingly sophisticated mobile experiences become a standard expected by the mainstream.

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