I’ve stated before that I was unhappy with Disney for making their official fan club pay membership only. If you’re a fan, you’re a fan. You shouldn’t have to pay to get access to the information, events, and discounts that the company should want its best customers to enjoy. For that reason, I’ve only paid scant attention to the goings on at D23, Disney’s official fan club. But that’s all about to change.
D23 will finally be launching a new free level of membership that will include access to incredible content on the new D23.com, which debuts on June 17. The new website will provide access to newly digitized content that delves deeply into The Walt Disney Company’s vault of material, past and present, along with exclusive glimpses of the future.
“We’re creating a unique destination that celebrates, in all respects, the essence of Disney,” says Steven Clark, head of D23. “We believe the new site will offer one of the most engaging Disney experiences yet—with even more to come in the future. We look forward to debuting the new D23.com to our current members as well as to new ones from around the world.”
In addition to its existing gold and silver levels, this new free level includes:
- Access to all exclusive content on D23.com
- Exclusive, limited-edition merchandise and collectibles
- Subscription to Weekly D23 FanFare E-newsletter with breaking news and special offers
- Discounted tickets to the D23 Expo 2013: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event
- Access to the Members Only content on D23.com
- An array of discounts and special offers
D23.com will continue to offer the latest Disney news free to all guests who visit the site. But D23 Members can unlock even more magic in each section by logging in and accessing content whenever a golden key is shown.
This is the move they should have made from day one. Offer the basic level of participation & discounts that fans normally get for free, then upcharge for events where there will be either limited access or special merchandise. Feel free to charge for a subsription to a printed magazine, but you should be giving it away digitally for free with a custom app for iOS and Android. It made absolutely no sense for the company to put a wall between itself and its fans.
I look forward to increasing my coverage of D23 now that this matter has been resolved. For those who are already members, how do you feel about the change?