business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that the Walt Disney Co. has applied for a patent on a portable media player that could be handed out instead of toys with McDonald’s Happy Meals.

“The plan could work something like this,” the NYT writes. “A customer enters a restaurant and buys a meal, receiving the portable media player and an electronic code that authorizes a partial download of a movie, video or other media file…” The child would even be able to use some sort of loyalty card to allow him or her to access additional or supplemental material based on frequency of purchases.

In addition, Disney and McDonald’s could use the technology to create customized content for older kids and adults.

The Times notes that use of this technology isn’t around the corner: it takes between two and three years for US Patent officials to review applications.
KC's View:
We think that this is a brilliant idea…it sort of reminds us of the scene in “Big” when Tom Hanks’ character comes up with the idea for digital/interactive comic books.

Technology makes it both possible and affordable. The McDonald’s-Disney link seems like a natural.

If we were in the retailing business, we’d be trying to figure out how to create a competitive alternative to this kind of approach.