Disney next week will start its “25 Days of Christmas” countdown with a TV special that lets viewers participate in a light show that is synchronized with specially equipped mouse ears hats. "The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration" will air on Nov. 30 at 9 p.m. eastern time on ABC, per a statement.
Viewers will be able to “Glow with the Show” during parts of the holiday special that signal when the new Made with Magic 3.0 Connected Ear Hats light up. The hats need to be connected wirelessly by Bluetooth to a mobile device running the Shop Disney Parks mobile application. The app started selling the hats last week.
For viewers who don’t have the special edition ear hats, the Shop Disney Parks app will provide them with a second screen experience on their mobile devices that mirrors the televised special.
Disney’s iconic mouse ears hat has come a long way since its basic form as a felt beanie attached to two plastic discs, with a much wider variety of styles and colors. The wirelessly connected hat is the next step in upgrading the company’s popular merchandise with mobile technology that is very familiar to the “digital native” generation born after 2000. Second-screen experiences that bridge TV and mobile devices continue to be a popular way for brands to engage consumers.
As TV viewership declines among younger generations and households get rid of cable and satellite subscriptions, Disney needs to reposition the entire company toward reaching audiences on mobile platforms and streaming services. The company in August announced a plan to pull its programming from Netflix, the streaming juggernaut with 109 million subscribers worldwide, and start its own streaming video service in 2019.
Global retail sales of Disney licensed merchandise rose 4.4% to $262.9 billion last year, according to the Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association, as Disney’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” helped to drive growth, Variety reported.