Disney+ to Bow Cheaper Ad-Supported SVOD Plan Later This Year

In a first for Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, Disney+ March 4 announced it would expand its offerings for consumers by introducing an ad-supported plan in addition to its option without ads, beginning in the U.S. in late 2022, with plans to expand internationally in 2023.

“Expanding access to Disney+ to a broader audience at a lower price point is a win for everyone – consumers, advertisers, and our storytellers,” Kareem Daniel, chairman, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement. “More consumers will be able to access our amazing content. Advertisers will be able to reach a wider audience, and our storytellers will be able to share their work with more fans and families.”

Disney+, along with Netflix and Apple TV+, had operated as one of the few strictly ad-free SVOD services, while competitors Peacock, Discovery+, Paramount+ and HBO Max all rolled out ad-supported options. Disney’s Hulu and ESPN+ platforms all have advertising.

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“Since its launch, advertisers have been clamoring for the opportunity to be part of Disney+ and not just because there’s a growing demand for more streaming inventory,” said Rita Ferro, president of advertising for Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution. “Disney+ with advertising will offer marketers the most premium environment in streaming with our most beloved brands, Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and National Geographic. I can’t wait to share more with advertisers at the Upfront.”

The ad-supported offering is viewed as a building block in the company’s path to achieving its long-term target of 230 million to 260 million Disney+ subscribers by FY24. The platform ended the most-recent fiscal period (Jan. 1, 2022) with almost 130 million subs. More details about the ad-supported service, including launch date and pricing, will be announced at a later date.

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