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Disney Plus Ads: What Advertisers Need to Know

November 2, 2022

by Hannah Hicklen

Streaming platform Disney Plus announced a new ad tier starting in December 2022. Businesses can start organizing their advertising strategies now. Learn the basics of Disney Plus ads here. 

Disney Plus, the famed Disney streaming platform, plans to launch a new subscription tier that will include ads. That means for all you 90’s kids out there, you might see a Disney plus ad for stainless steel dinglehoppers before streaming the new Little Mermaid remake next year.

With everyone and their mother starting a streaming service, the waters are bloody with subscription competition. It’s no wonder that streaming companies are looking for new ways to monetize their loyal viewers while still delivering a top-notch experience. 

Businesses can benefit from advertising from advertising on Disney+ by gaining access to Disney’s dedicated fanbase of fans, families, and nerds from all walks of life.

This article walks through the basics of Disney Plus Ads to help companies plan their over-the-top (OTT) advertising campaigns.

Do you want to advertise your business on Disney+? Connect with top OTT advertising companies on Clutch. 

History of Disney Plus 

Disney+ was launched in November 2019 with 10 million subscribers by the end of the first day of operation. While Disney+ hasn’t been in the streaming game for long, its management by the billion-dollar Walt Disney Company makes the video streaming platform a force to be reckoned with. 

Star Wars Mandalorian on Disney Plus

Pulling content from Disney’s vast film and television library, Disney+ has content from subsidiaries such as Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios, Pixar, 20th Century Animation, and Hollywood Pictures just to name a few. The platform operates in a collaboration package with Hulu, and only streams family-friendly viewing options. 

While Disney Plus includes a catalog of well-established family favorites, it has also added original content to its repertoire such as WandaVision, She-Hulk Attorney at Law, and The Mandalorian

As of July 2, 2022, Disney+ had over 150 million users and shows no signs of slowing down now. 

In fact, Disney has just named Alisa Bowen as the new president of Disney Plus as the subscription service plans to launch its first Ad Tier. 

What is Disney Advertising? 

How exactly will Disney Plus Ads work? You guessed it — Disney + will offer an ad-supported tier at their current price of $7.99/ month, but they will increase the cost of their ad-free tier to $10.99/ month. 

Disney Plus's new subscription tiers will be as follows:

  • A Disney Plus Premium subscription (without Ads) will increase from $7.99 to $10.99
  • A Disney Plus Basic subscription (with Ads)  will launch at $7.99 per month 

This new change might annoy or frustrate viewers who hadn’t planned on being pitched a new brand of detergent during their annual viewing of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

In order to compete with all of the other streaming services that have launched in the past 5 years, Disney Plus is creating a new way to profit from its loyal viewership. A new ad tier will reward subscribers willing to pay extra while still making more room on the platform for subscribers who don’t mind viewing some good, old-fashioned sponsored ad content. 

The $3/ month price hike might not seem like much, but the ad tier itself will provide its own powerful revenue stream. Hulu, whose ad-supported plan is $8 per month, generated $3.5 billion in advertising revenue from September 2020-21.

According to Deadline, Chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution has said:

“With our new ad-supported Disney+ offering and an expanded lineup of plans across our entire streaming portfolio, we will be providing greater consumer choice at a variety of price points to cater to the diverse needs of our viewers and appeal to an even broader audience.”

To meet these goals, Disney Plus will develop a “full suite of ad products” over the next several years. 

In December, though, Disney will release 15-second and 30-second commercial spots, with a maximum of five minutes of interruptions per hour of content, said Rita Ferro, president of ad sales for Disney, in an interview. 

For advertisers, this means that there will be plenty of opportunity to reach audiences whether they’re binge-watching content or are just watching an episode of their favorite show. 

Who Will Advertise on Disney Plus?

Disney+ expects parents around the world to select the cheaper ad-option, which comes as no surprise since Hulu’s ad-supported option makes up approximately two-thirds of their viewership. 

While it remains unclear who will be tapped to advertise on Disney+, it’s safe to assume these companies will be selected intentionally. 

Disney has carefully curated its content to be family-friendly. Disney+ is playing the long game with monetization, and they don’t want to disturb their brand image by adding inappropriate ad content to their platform. Instead, they plan to limit who can advertise on Disney+ to those with mass appeal. 

Additionally, they plan to limit what content ads will appear on. For example, ads will not appear on kindergarten programming and the minimal ads are expected to cover family-friendly content.

When Will Disney Plus Ads Launch? 

The new Disney Plus ad tier is slated to launch on December 8th, 2022. That means before your annual Christmas viewing of Home Alone, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll want to keep your Disney Plus Premium subscription and pay more or get bumped down to a Disney Plus Basic subscription. 

Disney Plus will launch ads on December 8, 2022

How to Advertise on Disney Plus

Christine McCarthy, Disney's Chief Financial Officer, said the company will pull from its experience with ad-supported tiers on their other streaming platforms, such as Hulu and ESPN+. 

Unlike other brands that use demand-side (DSP) or supply-side platforms to automate ad sales, Disney requires companies to purchase ad slots directly from them. This is known as purchasing directly from the publisher

For years, Disney has offered advertising for several of their brands through the Disney Advertising Sales department. For example, companies looking to advertise on ABC, National Geographic, Freeform, and FX had to contact Disney ad sales to get started on their campaign. 

Contact Disney Ad Sales to get started on your ad campaign.

When they began selling ad slots for their over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms, they followed a similar model. For instance, until recently, those looking to advertise on Hulu must work with Hulu Direct.  

Recently, though, Disney began experimenting with self-serve advertising when they launched Hulu Ad Manager. On this platform, companies are able to set up their own OTT ad campaigns and choose their audience targeting. Still, Hulu Ad Manager is still in beta testing and it’s unclear when or if it will officially launch. 

Additionally, the cost to advertise on Disney+ makes it unlikely that advertisers will have to work with a DSP or self-serve ad platform. 

Therefore, it’s safe to assume that advertisers looking to share their content on Disney+ will have to buy directly from them as well.    

Learn more about how to advertise on streaming services here

How Much Does It Cost to Advertise on Disney Plus?

Thanks to Disney’s tight restriction on the number of interruptions users will have while streaming, as well as the policies about which brands will be allowed to advertise on the platform, there is likely to be few ad slots available. Consequently, the cost to advertise on Disney Plus is likely to be quite high.  

In their initial pitch to advertisers, Disney Plus sought about $50 CPM for broad-based targeted advertising (any viewer ages 2 and up). However, companies looking for a higher level of targeting will have to pay more. 

At this price, Disney Plus ads are more expensive than nearly any other platform on the market. Hulu, Discovery, and Paramount+, for example, charge roughly $20–$25 CPM. Though, they’re also expected to raise their prices to $25–$30 CPM later this year. 

The only other platform that charges more is Netflix, who launched their ad-supported tier earlier this month, and charges roughly $65 CPM

Ad costs on streaming platforms

Disney Plus’s estimated rate, although high, reflects how streaming ad prices are likely to increase over the next year. 

While some advertisers question whether these rates will be too high (largely because HBO Max and Peacock had to scale back their ad prices in 2021 to meet market expectations), many think that brands will still pay the high cost in order to reach Disney Plus’s loyal audience. 

Disney Plus Ads: An Opportunity for Family-Friendly Brands.  

With Disney+ launching their ad supported tier before the end of the year, they are likely to reshape the streaming industry and advertising. 

Due to Disney’s strong brand identity and loyal users, many companies are excited about the possibility of being able to advertise on Disney+. Particularly companies who fall under Disney’s family-friendly brand image can benefit from advertising on the streaming platform. 

With a proper advertising strategy, many companies will certainly reap the benefits of advertising on Disney Plus this holiday season. 

However, with high prices and extra costs for targeted advertising, Disney Plus ads may be out of reach for some. 

To get started on an ad campaign on Disney Plus, connect with an OTT Advertising Agency on Clutch. 

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