A new, cheaper Disney Plus subscription offer is set to launch later this year – but it'll be supported by ads.
In a press release, The Walt Disney Company confirmed that a brand-new ad-supported subscription would be offered to potential customers in late 2022. However, the ad-supporting subscription would be rolled out in the US first, with international audiences having to wait until 2023 for the offer to arrive in their regional markets.
In a statement released alongside the announcement, Disney's Media and Entertainment Distribution chairman Kareem Daniel said that the new Disney Plus subscription model would provide more choice to consumers. If you've been wanting to watch the Marvel movies in order or The Mandalorian Season 3 at a discount, then, you'll soon be able to do so. But you'll have to contend with adverts as part of your movie marathon.
“Expanding access to Disney+ to a broader audience at a lower price point is a win for everyone - consumers, advertisers, and our storytellers,” Daniel said. “More consumers will be able to access our amazing content. Advertisers will be able to reach a wider audience, and our storytellers will be able to share their incredible work with more fans and families.”
Adding to Daniel's statement, Rita Ferro – President of Advertising, Disney Media, and Entertainment Distribution – elaborated on why this new subscription was being introduced.
“Since its launch, advertisers have been clamoring for the opportunity to be part of Disney Plus and not just because there’s a growing demand for more streaming inventory,” Ferro explained. “Disney Plus with advertising will offer marketers the most premium environment in streaming with our most beloved brands, Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and National Geographic. I can’t wait to share more with advertisers at the [upcoming] Upfront [event in May 2022].”
An exact launch date and price point will be revealed at a later date. It's expected, though, that those who purchase an ad-supported subscription, particularly in non-US markets, will have access to Disney Plus Star and other branded content on the streaming platform.
Analysis: how much could Disney Plus' ad-supported subscription cost?
That's hard to say. Currently, the only Disney Plus subscription available is the standard tier package. This costs $7.99 per month in the US. In other territories, the monthly fee is £7.99 / $11.99 CAN / €8.99 / $11.99 AUS / $12.99 NZ.
Meanwhile a yearly subscription will set you back $79.99 in the US, £79.90 in the UK, €89.90 in the EU, $119.99 in Canada, $119.99 in Australia, and $129.99 in New Zealand. You can check out how much Disney Plus costs in other world regions in our Disney Plus price guide.
Interestingly, there are similar subscription models for other streamers that may give us an idea of how much the ad-supported Disney Plus package will cost. In the US, the Hulu ad-supported plan costs $6.99 per month, while a Paramount Plus membership will set you back $4.99 per month. Additionally, a Discovery Plus subscription is similarly priced at $4.99 a month in the US.
Using those ad-supported tiers as a guide, we'd be very surprised if it's anything more than $4.99 US / £3.99 / $6.99 CAD / €5.99 / $6.99 AUS / $8.99 NZ per month. That seems like a reasonable amount to pay for the privilege of putting up with ads every so often, especially if Disney wants to be competitive in the ever-growing streaming service battle. Especially with Netflix, Prime Video, HBO Max, and Apple TV Plus to contend with.
A price point along the lines of our guess would be a steal for the amount of content on offer on Disney Plus, too. From Star Wars and The Simpsons, to Pixar and The Walking Dead, there's so much to binge watch on Disney Plus. Add in recent offerings including Pam & Tommy, as well as forthcoming Marvel Phase 4 projects like Moon Knight, and Disney Plus is pushing hard to become the world's biggest streamer.
Our advice? Don't miss out on this ad-supported deal when it eventually lands in your nation over the next 12 to 18 months.
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As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.
An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.
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