Update: Following a report yesterday that suggested a new Disney+ subscription option was being discussed, Disney has now confirmed that an ad-supported Disney+ tier will be available later in 2022. The announcement does not provide any information on how much the new subscription will be, but does say that it will be offered at “a lower price point” than the ad-free plan that’s currently available. According to Disney, the new ad-supported plan will first become available in the US in 2022 before expanding internationally in 2023. The announcement also makes clear that the ad–supported plan is designed to help Disney+ reach its long-term target of 230-260 million subscribers by the end of the company’s fiscal 2024. End of update.
Original article: Disney is reportedly considering adding an ad-supported plan to Disney+, making it easier for consumers to sign up at a cheaper rate than usual. Although there are benefits to the ad-supported model, most commonly a lower price, Disney+ is not exactly the most expensive streaming service to begin with. Then again, that might also change if an ad-supported Disney+ plan was to launch.
When Disney+ first arrived on the streaming scene, a standard subscription was priced at $6.99 per month. The service has since encountered a price increase with the cost rising up to its current $7.99 per month (or $79.99 per year). There is the option to somewhat save on the monthly price by combining the subscription with basic Hulu and ESPN+, although that also results in a higher outlay in general.
Disney is apparently discussing the option of a cheaper, ad-supported tier for consumers in the US, according to a new report by The Information which credits “a person involved in the discussions’ ‘ for the details. According to the report, the cheaper subscription is being seen as a way to stop subscriber growth from slowing down further. It currently remains to be seen how much an ad-supported plan would cost, or even if one will arrive.
It is not uncommon for a streaming service to offer a ‘with ads’ plan. Many services including Hulu, Discovery Plus, Peacock and Paramount Plus discount the cost of a subscription by including ads. Likewise, although HBO Max launched as an ad-free service, it also now offers a cheaper ‘with ads’ plan. In spite of this trend, there are some services that have placed their focus on ensuring an uninterrupted viewing experience, with Netflix one of the clearest examples to date.
Of course, an unspoken benefit of adding an ad-supported tier is that a service can actually increase the ad-free cost without affecting the entry-level price. At the current $7.99 price, the standard (ad-free) Disney+ plan is considerably cheaper than many others. While an ad-free Discovery+ experience costs just $6.99, Peacock and Paramount+ both charge $9.99 per month, a Hulu ad-free subscription costs $12.99, and HBO Max charges $14.99 per month.
Although there are no indications that Disney+ is planning to increase the cost of its ad-free plan, it remains a possibility, and offering a cheaper ad-supported plan would likely make it more easier to do.