Disney Plus is wading into advertising waters, as the first details on the streaming service's planned ad-supported version are coming out ahead of its launch later in 2022.
However, two of the most important details are still to be announced — exactly when it’s coming and how much is it going to cost.
Since Disney Plus launched in 2019, the streaming service has only had one available plan for all of its subscribers that offered no ads and access to all content. However, as consumers try to balance fitting the multitude of streaming options into their budgets, a cheaper ad-supported plan is becoming more common — even Netflix is reportedly considering an ad-supported tier (opens in new tab).
While we don’t know what the exact price would be, it’s a relatively safe guess that it is going to be cheaper than the current price of the standalone streaming service, as is the case with its competitors HBO Max, Paramount Plus and Peacock.
This isn’t the first cost-saving offering from Disney on its streaming platforms. Previously consumers could save with the Disney Bundle, which gives US consumers access to Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and Hulu for a single monthly fee of $13.99. However, this standalone ad-supported Disney Plus service can give a cheaper option for someone who doesn’t want or need the other services. It is also unclear at this time if the Disney Bundle is going to have a cheaper option for the ad-supported version of the streaming services.
Again, as far as when consumers will be getting the ad-supported Disney Plus, all we know is it is eyeing a date later in 2022.
We are getting some details though of what subscribers can expect with the ad-supported version of Disney Plus. According to the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab), Disney Plus plans to have four minutes of ads per hour, putting it among the lowest of the ad-supported streaming services, according to officials and independent researchers like MediaRadar (opens in new tab). In addition, no ads are going to be shown to preschool-age viewers.
Variety, meanwhile, reports that Disney is being selective of potential advertisers for the streaming service, not wanting to conflict with its family-friendly mission. Some specific examples of what Disney is saying no to are alcohol or political advertising, Variety said (opens in new tab).
For more information, check out What to Watch’s page on everything you need to know about Disney Plus.
Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.
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