To introduce a new generation to "Star Wars," Disney is turning to YouTube, and its Maker Studios acquisition. Disney's giving its more popular Maker stars movie merchandise to open and check out live on the "Star Wars" YouTube channel, in the day-and-a-half leading up to "Force Friday."
Disney is tapping into the huge trend of "unboxing" videos—responsible for 18 of the top 100 YouTube channels and over 8 billion views on YouTube in the first quarter. Disney is also looking to make the most of its $1 billion acquisition of Maker Studios, at a time when it's under scrutiny after losing two senior executives and facing questions about its failure to meet certain growth goals.
If Disney's strategy works, it will give Maker a boost—introducing a legion of fans to Maker stars and content. And it will get Maker's young followers—who are harder to target with traditional TV ads—hooked on the franchise.
Brochstein said the only risk is overdoing the promotional push: "What everybody's trying to do is play into the passion that's already there, maximize that passion, but then not cross that line to where everybody feels that they're being manipulated and forced into something."
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect Marty Brochstein's correct title.