Why is Disney Looking to Buy Twitter?

 

Social media is often compared to being at a cocktail party. At this party, users have to be active, engage and add value.  

Well, this party just got a lot more interesting.

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Rumors are high that Twitter is on the verge of acquisition. Which companies are interested in buying this social media platform at the hefty price tag of $18 billion? It could be as high as $20 or $30 billion after a possible Salesforce acquisition, all showing an optimistic long term view on Twitter’s potential.

Up until Monday, the top companies interested in Twitter included some of the usual suspects, Alhpabet/Google, Microsoft, Salesforce to name a few.  

What happened on Monday?

According to Bloomberg and TechCrunch, announced that Big Media giant and entertainment king, Disney, yes that Disney, is strongly considering a bid to buy out the social media platform.

Why would this entertainment giant, known for its theme parks and a few others classic media efforts, be interested in Twitter?

Both articles mention that Disney is eyeing Twitter’s potential video distribution.

So Disney wants to leverage the viral power of Twitter’s live video streaming, Periscope? There has to be more behind the entertainment company’s interest? Or as WSJ journalist Christopher Mims said

Let’s start by saying that Jack Dorsey sits on the board of Disney. So that makes the entire consideration a bit jaded. Interestingly, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg also sits on the board. Who wants to imagine a board meeting a Disney?

That said, here are my thoughts on what’s behind Disney’s interest in acquiring the major social media platform.

Why Disney Wants/Needs Twitter?

Sports

It’s no secret that Disney is an owner of ESPN and ABC media. Disney is also a partial owner of MLB Live Stream network and is becoming more involved in this unique space. They just announced a solid partnership with the NFL focused around live streaming. A solid product with a good strong audience, albeit mostly US based. Check out their Thursday Night pilot. Once the NFL pilot works, which I’m rather confident that it will, Twitter can apply it to any sporting event around the world.

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Think EuroCup soccer and its fan base.

Sports games are clearly a prime opportunity for multi-screen, real-time conversations, and engagement with a global audience. A Disney owned Twitter would mean that the entertainment giant will have a way to go global using an existing platform.

Briefly stated, Disney is interested in taking an active role in the live engagement of sporting events. With a Twitter acquisition, Disney instantly becomes a leader in this space.

Death of Cable

Cable is dying. Netflix is grabbing users in an impressive pace, leaving cable companies in the dust. As cable declines, new digital platforms have to be considered to engage audiences and expand brand reach. Disney’s looking to Twitter.

via SIZZLE

Additionally, much of Disney’s success is based on traditional, classic media models. These traditional outlets are starving to find platforms that will engage the next generation of users, who just so happen to be digital consumers. Twitter would help the traditional media outlets regain some of their lost users.

In short, DISNEY IS TRYING TO CAPITALIZE ON THE FUTURE OF TELEVISION

Why else would Disney be interested in Twitter from a media perspective? Frankly, if they don’t do it, Facebook or Google will own the entire social media and digital marketing space….

On the other hand, Big Media companies like Disney don’t really need Twitter since they already host one of Twitter’s main capabilities, free distribution potential, without any headache. If Big Media really wanted to get involved, they could just sign a partnership agreement without the responsibility of an entire platform.

How Can Disney Help Twitter?

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Customer Engagement

Anyone who has ever visited Disney or has seen any one of their productions, one thing is for sure, Disney knows how to engage their audience. They extend their product experience beyond just the screen.

Customer engagement goes far beyond product design and placement of any Disney brand element. Disney is pedantic in driving the company’s mission to create magical moments, and they work arduously to engage and create stories with users while they’re captivated.

Disney understands the need to create an entire experience that focuses on advancing the overall brand. Twitter has a solid user base but extending beyond the users that ‘get it’ has always been a challenge for them. Additionally, Disney understands how to market and sell a product in any form. Twitter has been good at engaging users on their mobile devices but have had a tough time bridging the online/ offline experience. That is something that Disney excels at and may be value added for Twitter.

Why does Disney excel at it?

Walt Disney understood that the power to engaging users is process.  

Think of process as a railroad engine. If the engine does not run properly, it does not matter how friendly the conductor acts or how attractive the passenger cars look, the train will still not move and the passengers will not pay their fares. Process is the engine of Quality Service.

Want to learn more about how a global brand, like Disney, succeeds with their customers? The 2016 State of Marketing Report put out by Salesforce (oh the irony) maps out what customers are looking for. Think Disney.

Twitter needs to think like their existing users to refine the process and the quality of service they provide. Otherwise, we may end up with another #Twitter10KRemember what happened a few months ago when Twitter was rumored to break their famous 140 character limit?

Wow User and Creating Magical Memories  

Disney’s ability to “wow” fans and captivate customers has become the paradigm for brands. In fact, they’ve written a guidebook Be Our Guest on how to sprinkle some Disney magic in any organization.

via GIPHY

To date, no other brand has been as successful at capturing and enchanting users to the level that yields a 70% return of first time users. Disney are the kings and queens of process and rule in the ability in optimizing the mundane.

Disney’s mantra is “We create happiness by providing the finest in family entertainment.”  Twitter could definitely benefit from Disney’s strength to provide the finest in social media.  

Great at Social – Owning One Makes Sense

Continuing with Disney’s impressive ability to engage their users and create a holistic experience, take a peek at Disney’s social networks. Their pages are filled with familiar faces and succeed at generating a ton of brand loyalty through social media. To give you a sense of how well Disney does social, in 2014, Starcount collected data in terms of the company’s online presence. Take a guess who was number 2? Disney (Samsung was number 1).

With Disney rocking social media (and all digital channels), Twitter definitely could learn a bit from them.

At the end of the day, Twitter faces significant problems. Pundits will critique and offer many ideas why or how Twitter can change. With many players in the Twitter acquisition, Disney among them, will face a bigger problem. If Twitter does indeed get acquired, the moment new management comes in and attempts to capitalize on Twitter’s community while even hinting at a product offer, it will undermine the essence of what Twitter- a slow moving company that is committed to a real-time, social, non-partisan, global network. No predefined content focus.

Twitter definitely has room for fixing. No giant media company (Disney, Facebook or other) will be able to solve that problem without imparting their values and nuances. It will be tough to find a buyer that will allow Twitter to remain Twitter.

Twitter has arguably been the most essential platform for social media users. It’s where all the conversations take place. It’s always been the heart of the social media party.  It’s the place where users engage, distribute and reach a global audience. While video streaming is important, I’m not sure that it’s Twitter’s only strength.  

A Disney acquisition does make sense and can prove to be a true added value to Twitter, but the tone at the social media party will definitely change and turn into an awkward self-promoting event….disrupting the true essence of social media.

 

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