Disney is following through with its plan to offer a US version of the Disney+ streaming service that has advertisements. Disney is launching the ad version of Disney+ in December; at the same time, the company is also planning on raising subscription prices for the classic ad-free Disney+ service, as well as Hulu, which will see both its ad-supported and ad-free versions get price hikes. Along with these subscription price hikes, Disney will be offering consumers new versions of its streaming bundle, which has traditionally included Disney+, ad-supported Hulu, and ESPN+.
Reportedly, the ad-supported version of Disney+ will be named "Disney+ Basic" and it will cost $7.99/month and will launch on December 8th. The ad-free version of Disney+ will jump from $7.99 to $10.99/month and will be called "Disney+ Premium." Disney+ Basic will have the exact same content library offerings as Disney+ Premium – and some content won't even include ads in it, despite being on Disney+ Basic. The current reported plan is for Disney+ Basic to run about four minutes of ads per hour, which breaks down to be an ad at the beginning of, an hour-long piece of TV content, with two additional ads hitting at the 20 and 40-minute marks, and a fourth ad at the end of the show. All in all, that falls in line with a lot of other streaming services that explored this model before. Ads are said to be starting with 15-second and 30-second spots, with plans to expand into a "full suite of ad products."
Other forms of ads could see getting big money from companies to run one lengthy ad (one minute or more) at the start of Disney+ content, or one recurring ad throughout a particular content block.
Disney first started announcing an ad-supported version of Disney+ back in March of this year. The company has taken the marketing angle that adding ads allows for a less expensive version of Disney+ to pull in more viewers:
"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 March. "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."
In actuality, the price changes make it hard to understand how Disney+ is going to be open to new lanes of consumers while still keeping its original price point for Disney+ Basic. If people weren't paying the $7.99/mo to start, it seems like they'd still holdout now. Then again, the Disney+ content library has grown radically since its launch, and now includes Rated-R content that some thought would never be inlcuded on a Disney service. There's a new sell to be made.
Look for Disney+ Basic and Disney+ Premium to arrive in December.