Disney+ will introduce an ad-supported subscription in addition to its option without ads, beginning in the US in late 2022, with plans to expand internationally in 2023.
Disney already provides other ad-supported streaming services, including Hulu and ESPN+.
However, the launch of an ad-funded offering would bring Disney+ into line with some other major players in the streaming space. WarnerMedia, Discovery, NBCUniversal and Paramount have launched ad-funded streaming offerings to complement paid-for services as the market for subscription services becomes more competitive and consumer exhibit less willingness to pay for additional services. Netflix remains a hold-out against ad-funded variants of premium services.
Disney’s ad-supported offering is viewed as a building block in the company’s path to achieving its long-term target of 230-260 million Disney+ subscribers by the end of 2024, and to bringing the service to profitability.
More details, including launch date and pricing, will be announced at a later date, Disney said.
“Expanding access to Disney+ to a broader audience at a lower price point is a win for everyone – consumers, advertisers, and our storytellers. 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 incredible work with more fans and families,” said Kareem Daniel, Chairman, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution.
“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. 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” said Rita Ferro, President, Advertising, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution.