Paramount Plus boss praises rival Disney Plus – because it's saving you money

Disney's Scrooge McDuck
(Image credit: Disney / Carl Barks)

When it comes to rival services in the tech and entertainment realm, it’s a rare sight to see one company offer praise to another. But that’s exactly what the boss of Paramount Plus is offering to rival streaming service Disney Plus.

Speaking during the Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media & Telecom Conference Tuesday (via Variety), Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish said that the recent decision to offer an ad-supported tier to Disney Plus subscribers was “100% right”. 

Paramount Plus already offers a similar divide between a premium and more affordable ad-backed subscription tier, with Bakishs saying that Disney’s decision to offer a similar option was “validation of the strategy” Paramount has taken on.

As previously reported, Disney Plus’s ad-supported tier will arrive later this year in the US, before an international roll out is considered for 2023. No pricing has been announced beyond the plan to sell it at a cheaper price than what's currently on offer via Disney Plus's sole subscription plan.

Analysis: Good news, bad news

Choice is a good thing, right? And any commercial offering that gives you more choice at a more affordable price point is usually worth welcoming.

At a cheaper price point, Disney Plus will let families – on more diverse range of incomes – gain access to its large catalogue of family favorites and entertainment juggernaut franchises, such as classic Disney animations and the latest Star Wars TV shows. You’ll be able to binge the Marvel movies in order without worrying so much about your bill at the end of it.

And, according to Disney research, there’s a large amount of potential viewers who actually prefer ad-funded options – not to mention advertisers to go along with them. More money overall into Disney’s coffers should, in theory, benefit all viewers as well – once the shareholders take their slice of the pie, you’d imagine there will be more money left over to make more adventurous content.

However, introducing an ad-funded tier can be a double edged-sword. For starters, we’re yet to understand what sort of privacy measures will be in place to ensure viewers aren’t being tracked in unsavory ways when it comes to their viewing preferences – not to mention the impact of exposing children to even more advertising. After all, Disney Plus is primarily a family-oriented platform, even if the merging of other content catalogues, such as that of 20th Century Fox, has diluted the family-friendly library somewhat.

In addition, if services like Prime Video are anything to go by, there’s nothing to stop Disney from seeing the success of ad-supported content, and slowly sliding it into the premium tier. As anyone that’s sat through an Amazon sizzle reel before watching their go-to Prime Video show can attest to, it can be hard to know what exactly you’re paying for when you’re being sold stuff while viewing, too. Here’s hoping the Disney Plus team and its executives avoid that temptation.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.