Walt Disney CEO sketches early plan for digital future – National

Walt Disney Co DIS.N sketched out the outlines of a plan on Sunday for how the entertainment, theme park and consumer products conglomerate will use technology to improve storytelling over the next 100 years.

Speaking backstage at the company’s biennial D23 Expo fan convention with Reuters, chief executive Bob Chapek tried to avoid what he called the « M-word » or metaverse, although he pushed the company in this direction last year.

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Chapek described Disney’s vision for the Metaverse as « next-gen storytelling. » It wants to use data gathered from theme park visits and consumer streaming habits to deliver personalized entertainment experiences, including at the company’s Marvel and Lucasfilm studios.

« Disney is absolutely a lifestyle, » he told Reuters on Sunday in an interview at the convention in Anaheim, California. « The question is how does our next-gen storytelling leverage what we know of a guest only into this Disney lifestyle, and then deliver unique experiences.

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Entertainment and tech companies have raced to secure a position in the metaverse after Meta Platforms Inc META.O CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that his company’s future would be dedicated to creating a robust, three-dimensional, and persistent where users’ digital avatars would run, hang out, and pursue their hobbies.

Long before Meta’s announcement, Chapek, who oversaw the parks division before taking the top job in 2020, spent years planning how to extend the theme park experience to people who will never visit the park. one of the company’s six theme parks worldwide.

Disney has begun laying the groundwork for exploring new forms of storytelling in earnest over the past year, appointing veteran media and technology executive Mike White to oversee the new Next Generation Storytelling and Consumer Experiences unit. .

White has been tasked with assembling the technology toolkit that Disney’s creative executives will be able to use.

Lara Insko, left, Rachael Keniry, center, and Trevor Hoffman ride, ‘It’s a Small World’ at Fantasyland at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on Wednesday, June 28, 2017.

(Photo by Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

He also brainstormed ideas for using augmented reality and other technologies to bring a new dimension to storytelling. Chapek cited a prime example — an eight-minute augmented reality film that premiered this week on Disney+.

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« That could be a real catalyst for what’s going to happen there and, you know, five to 10 years from now, » Chapek said.

(Reporting by Dawn Chmielewski in Anaheim; editing by Kenneth Li and Stephen Coates)


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