Disney Accelerator Program Aims To Bring Fans Closer Digitally

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The eight companies chosen for the 2021 Disney Accelerator program will work closely with Walt Disney Company officials during a three-month mentorship program “that will connect them with the creativity, imagination and expertise of Disney,” per a press release.

What’s more, the octet might also teach Disney leadership a thing or two about expanding their digital focus to reach new fans, especially at a time when their theme parks are doing what they can to welcome people back at pre-pandemic levels.

Many of the previous Disney Accelerator program participants have found their products and services in high demand among the company’s brand, and even outside the Disney family, following their three-month mentorship.

“Since 2014, the Disney Accelerator has helped foster innovation within The Walt Disney Company and has made a significant impact on the future of technology and entertainment,” said David Min, vice president, corporate innovation, The Walt Disney Company, in the company announcement. “The eight companies that we have chosen for this year’s program are all incredible leaders in their respective industry verticals, and we look forward to working closely with them over the coming months,” he added.

Last month, Disney announced that its membership program—which will replace annual passes at the company’s Los Angeles area theme park, Disneyland—will launch “sometime by the end of the year.” The program “will reflect the behavior of our superfans,” according to one Disney spokesperson.

How many of this year’s Disney Accelerator participants will find their products and services incorporated into what goes on at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, another Disney property or through its digital offerings? Here’s a closer look at the specific companies:

  • Attentive: Attentive is a comprehensive mobile messaging platform that allows retail and eCommerce brands to connect directly with consumers through personalized communication experiences. Attentive drives an average of 18.5 percent of total online revenue for modern eCommerce brands, according to its website, helping Disney’s increased digital focus.
  • Bambuser: Bambuser is innovating retail and social media with live streamed shopping. That gives Disney another unique way to hawk its wares that it didn’t previously have.
  • Camp: Camp creates experiential retail stores and online media destinations for the whole family, which complements Disney’s focus on creating unique experiences for kids of all ages.
  • Holler: Holler uses artificial intelligence to deliver content that helps peer-to-peer messages become more engaging and effective. So, even if you can’t actually bring the family to a Disney theme park, you can be “there” with your favorite characters.
  • Illumix: Illumix is an augmented reality company that allows brands to create immersive experiences across entertainment and eCommerce. Immersive entertainment that leads to eCommerce could be a recipe for success for Disney.
  • Miko: Miko creates adorable robots that are playful learning companions for children across 140+ countries, which are utilized by parents, educators and technologists. Disney is all about finding new ways to connect with children to entertain and educate them.
  • Mojo Vision: Mojo Vision is developing Mojo Lens, the world’s first augmented reality smart contact lens with a built-in display that delivers “Invisible Computing.” This could serve as a new way for Disney fans to connect with their favorite characters and theme park experiences from the comfort of home.
  • Play On! Sports: Play On! Sports is the destination for fans across the country to watch live and on-demand high school sports and activities, streaming over 320,000 live events last year. Disney owns ESPN as well as other sports-themed brands, so this could be a good fit.

Disney Accelerator has also named 2015 program participant Bonnie Rosen as the new general manager for the program. Rosen was part of the 2015 Disney Accelerator as part of FEM, Inc., a personalized video engagement platform that was later acquired by Nielsen Gracenote.