Disney Plus may show you ads – but not as you might expect

Power (Starz Network)
Power (Starz Network) (Image credit: Starz Play)

Disney Plus is only days away from launching in its first few territories, but while the paid-for TV streaming service has promised an ad-free experience once you've signed up, it looks like there's one exception to that rule.

Disney Plus will, in fact, run an ad for the Starz cable network and satellite channel, which will be shown to some subscribers at the end of the sign-up process.

It's not quite as bad as ads in the platform itself – that's what you're paying to get rid of, after all – and this shouldn't pave the way for other ads disrupting the viewing experience. According to a report by The Verge, not everyone will be shown the ad; presumably it will only affect US subscribers, too.

Rather than simply a money grab by Disney – which really doesn't need to grab any more money – the Starz collaboration is part of a deal to regain streaming licenses to certain TV shows and titles that Disney had sold to Starz previously. 

The 2015 Star Wars movie The Force Awakens is one such title – it's a movie that Disney will understandably have been keen to get onto its own streaming service, and which apparently required some ad-related concessions in order for the company to acquire it.

Custody battle

Disney has run into trouble, too, with the licenses given to Netflix. Star Wars and Marvel titles previously allowed on that platform are gradually being removed and are heading to Disney's service, though the current legal agreements Disney is caught in may mean that these titles return to Netflix by 2026 (via Bloomberg). 

This won't affect the already-canceled Marvel TV shows on Netflix, such as Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, but it certainly won't be a good look for Disney Plus if its high-profile Star Wars and Marvel movies end up leaving the service for a competitor.

Disney has plenty of time to work through those licensing agreements, and it's possible that Netflix will allow Disney Plus to keep the programming for the right price – or in return for some ads, perhaps?

Via The Verge

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.