Disney CEO Bob Chapek recently spoke at The Wall Street Journal‘s Tech Live conference on politics, integrating different facets of the company, and personalizing the consumer experience. Check out the highlights here:
“It’s the physical and the digital aspects of your Disney lifestyle coming together. If you’re on Disney+, we should be aware, assuming you give us the permission to have that awareness, of what happened, what you experienced, what you liked the last time you visited a park. And, vice versa, when you’re in a park, we should know what your viewing habits are on Disney+.”
“We’re putting the arms and legs on it right now inside our own technical groups. What we’re trying to do is build a toolbox of utilities that then can be used by our creators at Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucas who then take those utilities and use them to tell stories in a more customized and personalized way according to your interests.”
“We want our content to reflect the rich, diverse world we live in. We live in a world now where everything seems to be polarized, but I think we want Disney to stand for bringing people together.” Pressed by Murray, “To be clear, you don’t think Disney’s too woke?” the exec responded, “I think Disney is a company that has survived for 100 years by catering to its audience and it’s going to thrive for the next 100 years by catering to its audience.”
A few things stick out to me here. The phrase “Disney lifestyle” seems particularly cringey to me, even though it probably applies to me as a longtime Disney fan and collector. I understand what he means, but it just makes it sound like Disney is a more significant part of people’s lives than it probably is. I like to think things like family, pets, hobbies, etc., affect your “lifestyle” more than a mega-conglomerate. Using people’s Disney+ preferences to optimize the parks and vice versa is dubious, but it’s not any different from what other companies do. Even grocery stores use your shopping history from your club card to cater to you. AKA, they want you to spend more money and target ads and coupons accordingly. I generally agree with him about the “woke” issue, but let’s not be too optimistic here. As he says, they’re catering to an audience. It’s nothing more than that; it’s not Disney being ethical or moral. They don’t care about their own workers, let alone you or me. They don’t care about diversity, minority groups, etc. It’s all about the bottom line and whatever’s profitable at a given moment.
But what do you make of Chapek’s comments? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!