Disney+ is getting an ad-supported version but it will stick to family friendly ads

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Disney+ was always going to be popular, no matter what, but the timing with which it was introduced was serendipitous: fall 2019. Of course its back catalog spanning decades and new (Marvel) content drew a lot of subscribers, but the simple fact of the pandemic likely helped boost subscribers for a time as well. But like a couple of other streaming companies, Disney+ is now adding a lower-cost ad-supported version to entice even more new subscribers. But, unlike other streamers, Disney+ is being more strict about which ads they won’t show: alcohol, political, or rival streamers’ ads.

Disney+ … is about to unveil a new ad-supported tier, part of a broader move by big entertainment companies like Disney to lure new subscribers to its broadband entertainment hubs with cheaper subscription levels. Indeed, the new option is one of the most-anticipated developments of the looming TV “upfront,” when TV networks try to sell the bulk of their commercial inventory for the next programming cycle.

But Disney is being careful, according to two media buyers with knowledge of recent discussions between the company and advertising agencies, wary of overwhelming the streaming outlet with a glut of ads that might obscure the service’s family-friendly environment…

These executives say Disney has already signaled to agencies that the new version of Disney+ will not accept alcohol or political advertising at its launch. What’s more, the Disney service will also not take ads from rival outlets or entertainment studios, in a bid to prevent rivals from luring its subscribers amid a fierce round of Hollywood’s streaming wars. According to the two media buyers, Disney will also be cautious about running commercials alongside shows aimed at pre-school audiences, and will no run ads at all when an individual user profile in control of the viewing experience indicates a young child is watching.

Disney declined to make executives available for comment. Media buyers indicated they were a little surprised by the amount of control the company is exerting over the potential ad roster for the service, but also noted the dynamic might create a sense of scarcity for Disney+ commercial inventory, which could in turn increase demand from marketers interested in the service.

[From Yahoo! Entertainment]

The ban on alcohol and political ads makes sense given Disney’s family-friendly and “apolitical” image. Disney+ also has specifications for how many minutes per hour ads will run, and will minimize ads for shows and user profiles for certain age groups. This move makes complete sense, although like HBO Max’s similar efforts, it’s coming pretty early in their existence as a separate streaming entity. Netflix always had several tiers, but they’re only now adding an ad-supported version because they’ve lost so much money this year. I have (and have access to) a couple of streaming services without ads and I much prefer that, but this is definitely a good option for people. I had Hulu first, but then got the Disney/Hulu/ESPN+ bundle through my cell phone plan. But if I didn’t have the bundle, I probably would get the ad-supported Disney because I’d want to watch some stuff without paying extra for an ad-free version for a service I don’t use as much as Hulu/Netflix/HBO Max. So this option would definitely lure new subscribers and more casual subscribers. But wow, streaming really is becoming just like cable, isn’t it?

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