We know that Disney is planning to launch a cheaper, ad-supported version of Disney Plus later this year, but while the price is yet to be confirmed some details are starting to leak. And one of the most interesting details is that Disney intends to run far fewer ads on its cheapest Disney+ subscription plan than many of its competitors.
The news comes via The Verge (opens in new tab), which quotes Variety and The Wall Street Journal reports that for shows and films of an hour or less, Disney+ will only run four minutes of ads. That's the same as HBO Max, slightly less than NBC's Peacock and much less than Disney's own Hulu. In the US, many networks run around 14 to 16 minutes of ads per hour, so clearly Disney+ is being a lot more restrained.
There's more good news: rather than trying to restrict what kind of adverts are shown to younger audiences, Disney has decided not to show ads on kids' profiles at all. It'll also remove ads from shows made for pre-school kids irrespective of whose profile you're using – which is handy for parents or carers using their own profiles to watch with their little ones.
Keeping Disney+ family friendly
As for the grown-ups, don't expect ads that go against Disney's family-friendly image. The streaming service won't run political ads, ads for alcohol or anything else with adult themes, and it'll also refuse ads from competing entertainment firms.
The initial launch of the new Disney+ service will be in the US later this year, and it'll roll out to other countries in 2023. We don't know how much cheaper it's going to be, but given that Disney+ is currently $7.99 / £7.99 a month it's clearly going to be very keenly priced: my Disney+ account is already half the price of my Netflix one, and the ad-supported version is of course going to be cheaper still.
It'll be interesting to see how Netflix frames its own ad-supported tier, which we also know is coming to the US and most likely in 2022 alongside a crackdown on account sharing and possibly a new livestreaming section too.