- Disney Digital Network debuted "Club Mickey Mouse" as its first program specific to social media platforms, according to a press release by the company. Facebook and Instagram are carrying the HP-sponsored series that follows the adventures of eight teenage Mouseketeers as they create music and dance routines.
- During the program's seven-week run on Facebook Anthology, the social network's branded content platform, and Instagram's @ClubMickeyMouse account, the Mouseketeers will share their experiences through live videos, photos and Stories. Viewers can follow the action in the same way they follow friends on the social channels.
- HP equipped the cast with Sprocket Photo Printers, a portable device that can print photos directly from a smartphone or table, to document their journey. Walt Disney Records will also distribute the original music weekly through online music stores, including a new "Club Mickey Mouse" theme song on September 12.
Disney's "Mickey Mouse Club" has evolved with changes in media technology since it debuted in 1955 during the early days of TV and spawned stars like Annette Funicello, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Ryan Gosling. With the new "Club Mickey Mouse," Disney is taking another step into the social media space by programming bit-sized videos that are easily viewed by mobile users who continually flip through their news feeds.
According to Andrew Sugerman, executive vice president of publishing and digital media at Disney, this new approach differs from traditional web series.
"We see 'Club Mickey Mouse' as always-on content versus a show or series," he said. "It's programmed specifically for social media audiences who want to follow the kids' journey just as they would follow their friends' stories."
In following the immediacy of social media, HP's role in the partnership aims to introduce the idea of printing photos to a group of young consumers generally more accustomed to digital images, as well as promote its instant mobile printing product to a large, Gen Z audience the new show targets.
This new program is Disney's latest effort to reach audiences on social media as the company contends with consumers shifting to streaming media services like Netflix and Amazon while cutting cable. The company's Disney-ABC Television Group recently said it will cut costs by 10% with a restructuring of operations that was expected to result in hundreds of layoffs.
Disney's stock fell last week after CEO Bob Iger warned about profits will be flat this year. He also announced plans to include the company's Marvel and "Star Wars" movie titles in the subscription entertainment service it plans to launch by the end of 2019. While Disney has a massive library of content, the streaming marketplace is growing crowded, and the company has to prove it's capable of staying afloat among the shifting media landscape.