EXCLUSIVE: New Service “Wizarding World Gold” Charges for Premium Access to the Wizarding World
Over the years, we have received many an anonymous tip. Around half of them never pan out to anything, while the other half are found to be credible and immediately published. About a month ago, we received information via an anonymous source regarding a new service that Warner Bros. was gathering research on and planned to launch later in the year. Since this was the first we were hearing about the service, we were hesitant to do anything about it – until now.
Just a few days ago, Warner Bros. and Pottermore announced that they would be merging into a new brand, Wizarding World Digital, a venture that Neil Blair seems excited for.
This venture will widen and deepen what we have been able to do on Pottermore so far. There’s no reason now why we won’t be able to do something because there’s a rights issue. The only limits will be our imaginations and what technology is available.
We can now exclusively reveal that the service, this exciting new venture, is going to have a premium, paid tier.
Yes, readers, you will soon have the option to pay for premium access to the best and brightest parts of the wizarding world – including, thanks to the merger of Warner Bros. and Pottermore, the seven published Potter novels.
According to the marketing materials we received, Wizarding World Gold will offer a wide range of products, experiences, and exclusives.
Once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Enter regular contests with incredible prizes, attend member’s only fan events at Wizarding World locations, and take part in incredible digital experiences. This, only for Gold members. Basically we are going to spoil you rotten.
Enjoy priority booking for the always in-demand Cursed Child
Experience upcoming games, exclusive offers at real life Wizarding World locations, plus so much more.
Magical things are coming your way.
There is also an exclusive welcome kit that comes with a paid, premium Gold membership.
Your House-themed, personalized and fully interactive journal, a collectible ‘Gold Key Pin’, and an exclusive print of JK Rowling’s original sketch of Hogwarts.
Interact with your journal (it knows you better than you think) to unlock exclusive content and magical experiences.
Wear your ‘Gold Key Pin’ with pride and recognize fellow Wizarding World Gold members.
The marketing materials feature photographs of the above items, as well as fans and readers cozying up to Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law on Platform 9 3/4 last year.
Additional features include an “Original Video and Podcast Series” (which is paired with a photograph of Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina, collectively MinaLima) as well as “Exclusive Merchandise and Special Offers” (“you’ll have access to exclusive limited-edition products and lots of very special offers through our online shop. Available only to Wizarding World Gold members.”).
To this journalist, Wizarding World Gold (and by extension Wizarding World Global) sounds like a step in the wrong direction for readers and fans. What started out as a free and fun website to interact with readers of all ages turned into a fansite run by shareholders who, in an effort to make continued millions off of wizarding world fans around the globe, decided to turn its back on a large portion of the exact audience it supposedly serves.
Let’s roll the clock back a little bit so we can better understand how we got here. Pottermore, as we know, started out as a humble yet beautiful and fun interactive hub where readers of all levels could interact with the Harry Potter books in a new and exciting way. The initial partnership with Sony Entertainment was promising, and for the most part, the site was without glitch or criticism. Once Sony didn’t renew the contract (for reasons of which even I am still a bit foggy on), the team was left with a URL that had significance to fans but no funding to continue pulling off the elaborate and beautiful world that Sony had helped create. Thus, they rebranded. Sort of.
The new Pottermore was, in essence, a fansite that had J.K. Rowling as the webmaster. She provided exclusive tidbits of information for the readers (most of which were migrated from the previous iteration of the site) to be published on the site’s pages. Gone were the games and potions of old, in were listicles and examinations of characters that don’t deserve to be redeemed. Pottermore was now a very corporate entity, complete with shareholders. Don’t fool yourself – the new Pottermore was in the money-making game.
Once the Fantastic Beasts brand was launched, Pottermore no longer totally and completely made sense. How could they house non-Potter, albeit related, content on a website with a name so blatantly Harry adjacent? In came “J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.”
The new logo, launched barely one year ago, was meant to encapsulate that, and for the most part, it has. At the time, a rebrand of the Harry Potter Global Franchise Development team, those charged with overseeing the course of the wizarding world since its formation back in 2014, was also announced.
That brings us to today and the most recent announcement of Wizarding World Digital. It seems that in an effort to form an even larger conglomerate than the Wizarding World brand already is, the merging of Pottermore into Warner Bros. could flip the tables for fans and followers around the globe. With the added level of a Gold premium, paid membership, it seems, at least to this journalist, that the franchise is hell-bent on continuing to marginalize its fans.
Don’t get us wrong. In theory, Wizarding World Gold is a really fun and cool way to grant amazing experiences to the small number of readers and fans who can afford to do so – but what about the rest of us? The Wizarding World franchise has already experienced accessibility issues for several years with Cursed Child, an uproar that was heard around the world. How is this premium, paid service going to help? The “limited-edition” merchandise is going to end up on eBay ten minutes after it is released, at 500% the price. The podcast series sounds fun, but why wouldn’t that be released to the general public?
If fans and followers already feel marginalized by the content the franchise is putting out, how is marginalizing them further going to help? If fans and followers have already expressed, time and time again, that at large they are frustrated by the brand’s inability to listen to its fans, how is this going to help? We are quite curious to see how this is going to land, but much like the sound of a bezoar hitting a cauldron bottom, we have the distinct feeling it will be with a cold, hard clunk.
What do you think? Are you on board for Wizarding World Gold, or do you plan to keep your Galleons in the bank?