Disney+ ad-supported plan will be available later this year
Disney+ is one of the few major streaming services available right now without a free or ad-supported option. News broke yesterday about a possible ad-supported tier, and now Disney has officially confirmed that there will be a cheaper option for watching everything on Disney+ later this year.
Disney revealed in a press release today, “Disney+ will expand its offerings for consumers by introducing an ad-supported subscription in addition to its option without ads, beginning in the U.S. in late 2022, with plans to expand internationally in 2023.”
Most streaming services already offer a cheaper plan supported by advertisements, with Netflix and Disney+ being some of the few exceptions. HBO Max with advertisements costs $9.99 per month ($14.99/month without ads), Hulu’s ad-supported plan is $6.99/month (ad-free Hulu is $12.99/mo), and Paramount+ has an “Essential” tier with ads for $4.99/month (down from $9.99/mo). Peacock from NBCUniversal offers both an ad-supported plan ($4.99/mo), and a free plan that has advertisements and a more limited selection of content.
Disney said it hopes the ad-supported plan will help reach the company’s goal of 230-260 million Disney+ subscribers by the end of 2024, which is a significant reduction from Disney’s original target, which called for 300-350 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024. The company seems to have underestimated how willing most people are to add yet another streaming service to their monthly budgets — as of the end of 2021, the service is still at 118.1 million paying subscribers.
Disney is also experimenting with other options for cheaper and more accessible plans. The company is currently testing two mobile-only Disney+ Hotstar plans in India, which aren’t as expensive and only allows low-resolution playback on phones, similar to Netflix’s cheapest mobile-only subscription. Disney is also rapidly expanding the amount of content available on Disney+, especially with its growing library of Star Wars and family-oriented shows and movies.