- The Walt Disney Studios has named global professional services firm Accenture as a founding member and innovation partner of StudioLAB, a Disney research and development initiative dedicated to “reimagining, designing and prototyping” how people experience entertainment using emerging technologies, according to a news release from the consultancy.
- Accenture Interactive, the consultancy's digital agency, and Fjord, its design and innovation unit, will help define and develop entertainment technology for StudioLAB and help Disney Studios apply emerging technologies, including immersive entertainment, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, the future of movie production and next-generation cinematic platforms. Accenture will also help with StudioLAB's operations under a three-year agreement, including lab design and business operations.
- In separate news, Accenture announced an investment in Upskill, a provider of enterprise software for augmented reality devices in industrial settings, a news release announced. The move will help Accenture expand its abilities to create large-scale AR projects connecting workers to information that can help them do their jobs.
Disney’s new StudioLAB initiative and partnership with Accenture underscores how important it is for film studios to innovate as they strive to reach a new generation of viewers that expect more immersive and interactive experiences. Embracing the next emerging technology can also help Hollywood give viewers a reason to make a trip to the movie theater as consumers spend more time watching movies on their personal devices. Box office ticket sales declined 2.3% in 2017 and 18- to 24-year-olds going to the movies at lower rates.
“Technology is an essential component of how we make characters, stories and worlds come alive at Disney, and we’re looking forward to the possibilities of what we can imagine and build together,” Jamie Voris, CTO of The Walt Disney Studios, said in a statement.
For Accenture, the news is another example of how its prowess in turning data into a strategic advantage has strong appeal for marketers across categories. The company has been on something of an acquisition spree over the past few years, picking up creative and innovation shops as it looks to become a leader in digital marketing.
Though Disney hasn’t specified how its StudioLAB initiative will affect moviemaking and benefit movie audiences, the film studio has been embracing new technologies to generate excitement around new film releases. Disney Pixar launched a virtual reality standalone app to promote the animated film “Coco” with a 20-minute interactive story including unreleased film footage. Disney also has a partnership with Facebook’s Oculus Rift device and has created immersive experiences such as a 360-degree Facebook video for the animated film “Moana” and a VR app for the 2017 version of “Beauty and the Beast.”
Including artificial intelligence as one of StudioLAB’s initial focus areas is a strategic move for Disney. By investing in AI, film studios can deepen their emotional connections with moviegoers. The technology can help them isolate the subjects, styles, tones and emotional appeals that will most resonate with audiences, and develop more personalized creative content. This approach could be beneficial in reaching younger generations, like millennials and Gen Z, who value more authentic experiences and are particularly distrusting of celebrities.