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Disney’s next big bet on ad-supported streaming has officially launched.
On Thursday, The Walt Disney Co. rolled out the ad-supported tier of Disney+, and with it a revised suite of bundled offerings to give consumers more streaming options.
Starting Thursday, the standard tier of Disney+ (with no ads) will see its price rise to $10.99 per month, with Disney+ Basic (with ads) taking its place at $7.99 per month. In addition to including ads, the basic plan will not allow downloads, or extra features like GroupWatch and Dolby Atmos support at launch.
The Disney Bundle, which combines Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, will be getting a revision, as well.
The Disney Bundle Duo will combine the ad-supported tiers of Disney+ and Hulu for $9.99 per month, while Disney Bundle Trio Basic will combine the ad-supported tiers of Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+, for $12.99. The Disney Bundle Trio Premium will cost $19.99 per month and include the ad-free tiers of Disney+ and Hulu.
Hulu’s Live TV plan will cost $69.99 per month and include the ad-supported plans of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+.
The launch is a critical one for Disney, which is hoping to leverage its massive advertising business further in streaming, hopefully making Disney+ profitable in the process.
To that end, Disney says that more than 100 advertisers have signed on to the Disney+ with ads streaming launch, representing a dozen categories like retail, automotive and CPG. Disney says the creative will have “volume and variety,” part of an effort to minimize one of streaming’s biggest faults with advertising: Repetitive spots.
Disney is already familiar with ad-supported streaming, with Hulu and ESPN+ having been in the space for years (Netflix CEO Reed Hastings cited Hulu as proof that ad-supported streaming makes sense as a model), and has the advertising infrastructure to support the launch, which is being overseen by ad sales chief Rita Ferro.
“Today’s launch marks a milestone moment for Disney+ and puts consumer choice at the forefront,” said Michael Paull, president of Disney’s direct to consumer business, in a statement. “With these new ad-supported offerings, we’re able to deliver greater flexibility for consumers to enjoy the full breadth and depth of incredible storytelling from The Walt Disney Company.”
Disney+ launches its ad tier just weeks after Netflix launched a version of its own, leaning on partner Microsoft to help get its version off the ground. For now, Netflix only has one ad tier (the basic plan for $6.99 per month), though Ted Sarandos said at a UBS conference earlier this week that he expects the company to add additional tiers over time.
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