CEO of MEDIA-DISNEY-Disney outlines an early digital future strategy

The entertainment, theme park, and consumer goods company Walt Disney Co. has outlined a strategy for how it will employ technology to improve storytelling over the course of the next 100 years.

Despite pushing the business in that direction last year, chief executive Bob Chapek avoided the “M-word,” or metaverse, when speaking with Reuters backstage at the company’s yearly D23 Expo fan convention.

Chapek characterized Disney’s plan for the metaverse as “next-generation storytelling.” He intends to create individualized entertainment experiences from the company’s Marvel and Lucasfilm studios using data collected from theme park visits and consumer streaming habits.

In an interview with Reuters on Sunday at the convention in Anaheim, California, he stated that “Disney is definitely a lifestyle.” “How is our next-gen storytelling leveraging what we know about a guest specifically in this Disney lifestyle, then giving up unique experiences?” is the question.

After Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared his company’s future would be devoted to building a strong, three-dimensional, persistent environment where users’ digital avatars would work, hang out, and pursue their hobbies, entertainment, and technology companies scrambled to establish a presence in the metaverse.

Chapek, who headed the parks division before taking the helm in 2020, spent years thinking up ways to provide the theme park experience to those who would never visit one of the company’s six theme parks around the world far in advance of Meta’s announcement.

With the appointment of seasoned media and technology executive Mike White to lead the newly established Next Generation Storytelling and Consumer Experiences business, Disney began setting the basis for exploring new kinds of storytelling in earnest during the past year.

White has been tasked with putting together the technology toolkit that will be used by Disney’s creative executives.

In order to give storytelling a new dimension, he has also been coming up with ideas on how to use augmented reality and other technology. An eight-minute augmented reality short that debuted this week on Disney+ was the first example given by Chapek.

According to Chapek, “This might be a really significant spark for what’s going to come up there and, you know, five to ten years.”