Disney+ is getting an ad-supported version but it will stick to family friendly ads

Disney+ was always going to be popular, no matter what, but the timing with which it was introduced was serendipitous: fall 2019. Of course its back catalog spanning decades and new (Marvel) content drew a lot of subscribers, but the simple fact of the pandemic likely helped boost subscribers for a time as well. But like a couple of other streaming companies, Disney+ is now adding a lower-cost ad-supported version to entice even more new subscribers. But, unlike other streamers, Disney+ is being more strict about which ads they won’t show: alcohol, political, or rival streamers’ ads.

Disney+ … is about to unveil a new ad-supported tier, part of a broader move by big entertainment companies like Disney to lure new subscribers to its broadband entertainment hubs with cheaper subscription levels. Indeed, the new option is one of the most-anticipated developments of the looming TV “upfront,” when TV networks try to sell the bulk of their commercial inventory for the next programming cycle.

But Disney is being careful, according to two media buyers with knowledge of recent discussions between the company and advertising agencies, wary of overwhelming the streaming outlet with a glut of ads that might obscure the service’s family-friendly environment…

These executives say Disney has already signaled to agencies that the new version of Disney+ will not accept alcohol or political advertising at its launch. What’s more, the Disney service will also not take ads from rival outlets or entertainment studios, in a bid to prevent rivals from luring its subscribers amid a fierce round of Hollywood’s streaming wars. According to the two media buyers, Disney will also be cautious about running commercials alongside shows aimed at pre-school audiences, and will no run ads at all when an individual user profile in control of the viewing experience indicates a young child is watching.

Disney declined to make executives available for comment. Media buyers indicated they were a little surprised by the amount of control the company is exerting over the potential ad roster for the service, but also noted the dynamic might create a sense of scarcity for Disney+ commercial inventory, which could in turn increase demand from marketers interested in the service.

[From Yahoo! Entertainment]

The ban on alcohol and political ads makes sense given Disney’s family-friendly and “apolitical” image. Disney+ also has specifications for how many minutes per hour ads will run, and will minimize ads for shows and user profiles for certain age groups. This move makes complete sense, although like HBO Max’s similar efforts, it’s coming pretty early in their existence as a separate streaming entity. Netflix always had several tiers, but they’re only now adding an ad-supported version because they’ve lost so much money this year. I have (and have access to) a couple of streaming services without ads and I much prefer that, but this is definitely a good option for people. I had Hulu first, but then got the Disney/Hulu/ESPN+ bundle through my cell phone plan. But if I didn’t have the bundle, I probably would get the ad-supported Disney because I’d want to watch some stuff without paying extra for an ad-free version for a service I don’t use as much as Hulu/Netflix/HBO Max. So this option would definitely lure new subscribers and more casual subscribers. But wow, streaming really is becoming just like cable, isn’t it?

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9 Responses to “Disney+ is getting an ad-supported version but it will stick to family friendly ads”

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  1. Oh_Hey says:

    So all these streamers, with bundled channels and ads… so cable. We’ve come back around to cable. Cable started commercial free and then ended up where it is too.

  2. MsIam says:

    Well if it keeps the prices reasonable then I support it. Because streaming is getting to be expensive now. Its defeating the point of cutting the cord.

  3. Gizmo’sMa says:

    There are ways to get cheaper prices without the ads. Just wait until holiday season to subscribe. All streamers, except Netflix runs specials. Sometimes the special pricing is for a limited time. If you end your subscription when it goes to full price most likely you’ll get a ‘Please come back’ special offer in your email.

    Disney has 3 streaming services. If you subscribe to one, they always email you a discounted offer to subscribe to the other two. Either in a bundle or separately. I’m currently only paying $3.99 a month for Hulu and Disney+. And $7.99 a month for HBO max. No ads!

    • kirk says:

      Wow. Thanks for the tip @Gizmo’sMa. I’d planned on getting Disney+ for a free month, then canceling, but never got around to doing it. Procrastinating til the holidays sounds like the perfect solution.

  4. Becks1 says:

    Yeah, while I think this move makes sense on its face for Disney+, especially if the price is right for people, it just feels like we’re circling back to cable except instead of paying one bill, you’re paying 5 different bills.

    i paid for 3 years of disney plus upfront which will be up in November so I’m considering my options going forward. We don’t have hulu and I kind of want that so maybe the bundle makes sense, but we already have ESPN+ somehow. But we definitely watch the hell out of Disney Plus. we watch that the most, then Netflix, then Apple TV+. We rarely watch HBO Max or Peacock, mainly just bc I forget about them to be honest. There are just too many streaming services now.

  5. Call Me Mabel says:

    This surprises me a bit because Disney+ is relatively inexpensive, especially compared to Netflix. I know every dollar counts so I’m not saying it’s a bad move or unnecessary, just surprising.

    (I pay $7.99 a month for Disney+ with no bundles or specials or anything)

    • LadyMTL says:

      One of the reasons why I signed up for Disney+ (and recently let my Netflix sub lapse) was because of the price. Here in Canada a yearly sub to D+ is $120 which is cheaper than almost everything else, especially since bundles aren’t really a thing. I doubt I’d sign up for Disney’s ad version just to save a dollar or two.

  6. Twin falls says:

    Disney is reasonably priced for all the content imo.

    I hate commercials and I am tired of trying to keep up with what show is on what platform. Tv just isn’t that important to me.

  7. Christine says:

    I got the yearly plan for Disney+ but will be switching back to monthly when it’s up and cancelling intermediately to only watch the stuff I want. I’m not going to pay for ads. I do the same with Hulu. I’ve noticed Prime and Hulu share some of the same shows and I refuse to watch on Hulu because of their awful ads. It’s the same 2 commercials over and over and over…