Disney is opening up its flagship streaming service to advertising, but the company is being cautious: According to Variety, Disney+ won't allow alcohol-related or political ads to keep the service family-friendly.
Disney will also not accept ads from other streaming services or studios, two media buyers with knowledge of talks between the company and ad agencies told Variety. The restrictions could actually make Disney+ more appealing to advertisers, who are looking to buy up inventory at this week's Upfront presentations in New York. Variety noted that the limits indicate that Disney+ ad inventory is scarce, which could increase demand. Disney+ is also in a good position given that it's adding subscribers while Netflix is on the decline. After years of dismissing the idea of an ad-supported tier, Netflix too is introducing a cheaper, ad-supported subscription this year.
Disney ad restrictions are nothing new. On Disney Channel, for instance, it doesn't accept traditional ads at all, instead running sponsorship messages, according to Variety, while its channel for younger children, Disney Junior, typically doesn't run any commercials.
Disney is also making itself even more competitive with rival ad-supported streaming services by running fewer ads, an average of four minutes per hour or less, a person familiar with the matter told Variety.
Disney first announced its ad-supported tier in early March. The new tier is expected to roll out at the end of this year in the U.S., and the company plans to take the new plan international in 2023. The plan will likely debut around the same time that the introductory discounted three-year Disney+ option expires. That subscription was introduced in November 2019.
The plan was part of its goal to amass an ambitious 230 million to 260 million Disney+ subscribers by fiscal year 2024. Though the company still has a ways to go to meet that target, Disney+ added 7.9 million new subscribers in the most recent quarter for a total of 137.7 million paying customers.