In a first for Disney’s flagship direct-to-consumer streaming service, Disney Plus will launch an ad-supported subscription plan later this year.
The ad-supported Disney Plus plan will be introduced beginning in the U.S. in late 2022, with plans to expand internationally in 2023, the media conglomerate announced Friday.
No pricing or specific launch date was announced. The AVOD version of Disney Plus will be offered at a price less than the regular ad-free version, which in the U.S. costs $7.99 per month.
Disney said the ad-supported version of Disney Plus is a “building block” for the company’s target of reaching 230 million-260 million Disney Plus subscribers worldwide by the end of its 2024 fiscal year. At the end of 2021, Disney Plus had 129.8 million paying customers worldwide, gaining 11.8 million for the quarter ended Jan. 1, 2022.
Disney Plus first bowed in November 2019, and execs had been noncommittal when asked whether they had plans to introduce an ad-supported tier. The Mouse House’s streaming portfolio includes Hulu — which offers an ad-supported streaming plan — and ESPN Plus.
Among Disney Plus’s major rivals, Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video do not include ad-supported options. WarnerMedia (soon to merge with Discovery) added an AVOD version of HBO Max last June; other streamers that offer by ad-free and ad-supported plans include Paramount Plus, Discovery Plus and NBCUniversal’s Peacock. Variety