Disney has Tron iOS games out on sale, timed to coincide with the release of the sci-fi movie epic Tron: Legacy. But Disney couldn't ignore millions of fans of its Tap Tap music games, and is promoting Tron inside them in a bunch of ways—all highlighting how many millions of dollars are at stake in the apps marketplace.
Disney bought Tapulous, makers of the popular Tap Tap range of music games on the iPhone and iPad, back in July. Today it released the fourth version of Tap Tap Revenge, just in time to maximize the holiday app spending spree, and also to cash in on the millions of iDevices that'll be given as gifts this week. Disney expects a million copies of Tap Tap to be bought on Christmas Day alone.
But the new Tap Tap has an interesting extra: you can play Tron songs. And Tron, the iOS game app, is being promoted inside Tap Tap—both of which also act to promote Tron: Legacy itself. Disney dropped the price of the Tron app from $4.99 to just 99 cents, timed to match the release of the Tap Tap app.
Tap Tap is such a valuable franchise that Disney would've been foolish not to leverage all this advertising real-estate it already commands. As Tapulous co-founder Bart Decrem notes "if you're not in the Top 100, if you're not featured by Apple, users don't know about you."
As noted at GigaOM, strategies for promoting apps can be very tricky, particularly at this time of year. Apple freezes its App Store lists for an extended period over the holidays, ensuring excellent promotional prospects for the apps that are in the top positions—and making it harder for other apps. Many developers are heavily discounting their apps already, so discounting your app as a strategy for promotion isn't guaranteed to work by itself.
Disney is highlighting how an ecosystem can be leveraged to cross-promote apps. It's also highlighting how much money is at stake here. This is clearly one way big-money apps will be promoted in the future—a future where making your app stand out among the hundreds of thousands of competitors becomes increasingly tricky.
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