A lower cost Disney+ service has launched in the United Sates, supported by more than a hundred advertisers across all major categories. New plans with adverts are also available across the Disney Bundle and Hulu+ Live TV subscriptions. It remains to be seen how many will be prepared to watch adverts to save a few dollars a month or how far the lower cost tier will attract new subscribers.
Current Disney+ subscribers can continue to pay $10.99 a month or $109.99 a year, but will have the option to switch to the new Basic service for $7.99 a month.
The Basic plans lacks features including downloads, groupwatch, and shareplay, as well as Dolby Atmos sound. It retains other features, allowing up to seven user profiles with parental controls, with up to four concurrent streams per account, offering 4K Ultra HD with high dynamic range where available.
Adverts will run for an average of four minutes per hour but will be blocked on profiles assigned to children.
Disney is presenting the option as triumph of consumer choice. “Today’s launch marks a milestone moment for Disney+ and puts consumer choice at the forefront,” said Michael Paull, president, Direct to Consumer. “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.”
Advertising is being sold through the Disney Advertising sales house, which offers over 1,800 audience segments based on a claimed 100,000 attributes.
Disney+ had 46.4 million subscribers in the United States and Canada at the end of September 2022, with 164.2 million worldwide. In the most recent quarter, the direct-to-consumer business lost $1.5 billion on revenues of $4.9 billion.