Disney’s had some trouble with its digital affiliates lately. As in, they had a contract with the biggest star on YouTube, and then he went and made some anti-Semitic comments. Repeatedly.
So, Disney clamped down on its digital content. Their Maker Studios brand canned about 55,000 (!!!) content creators recently, and now they’re folding it into the new Disney Digital Network (DDN).
The new network is chock-full of great videos, all of which are carefully approved by the big guys at the Mouse.
To be clear, I think this is a perfectly sensible move, and it’s going to let them surface some fantastic content. They’re losing the huge morass of videos, and moving to a more traditional media model where only the best stuff enters the public eye.
Also, new videos are required to be, you know, about Disney.
What we’re losing is the chance to see some truly great stuff that Disney execs would pass over. For example, something like Epic Rap Battles of History flourished on Maker, but would never have appeared on the new DDN.
Polygon reported on the change with some good insight from Deb Gabor, a marketing professional who works with Disney.
“The general consumer public probably didn’t even know the two were even related to one another,” Gabor said. “But what’s happening is that advertisers want to engage directly with consumers and they want to do that through channels that are directly related and adjacent to the Disney brand. If this is in response to how advertisers want to engage with consumers — through platforms, through content, and through Disney’s big content assets — Disney is hoping that through this process they can lock down some of these rules a little more.”
The Disney Digital Network is up now, and plans to roll out the following shows over the next few months.
- Science and Star Wars – Looking at Star Wars with an eye towards real-world science.
- Oh My Disney Show – Comedy and news about Disney properties.
- Club Mickey Mouse – The successor the old Mickey Mouse Club.
- Disney IRL – Good-natured “pranks” like that amazing Dug video linked above. Disney characters will surprise fans at their homes.
- COIN – The only scripted series in the initial lineup, and also the only animated fare. A group of teens battle to save the world.
- Disney Design Challenge – A reality competition style show where young designers work on creative projects inspired by Disney.
- Disney Magical Starts – Arts and crafts tutorials aimed at parents and small children.
Several of the shows are already online as of this writing, complete with articles and other non-video content.