Disney Plus Adding Cheaper Ad-Supported Tier As Consumers Balk At Streaming Costs

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Disney Plus Adding Cheaper Ad-Supported Tier As Consumers Balk At Streaming Costs
Shutterstock

Sign up for dot.LA's daily newsletterfor the latest news on Southern California's tech, startup and venture capital scene.

Coming soon to Disney Plus: commercials.

On Friday, Disney announced that it will offer a cheaper, ad-supported tier of its flagship streaming service, joining other major streaming platforms in giving subscribers an ad-supported option. The Burbank-based media giant did not disclose how much the less expensive tier will cost—Disney Plus is currently priced at $7.99 per month—but said it will roll out in the U.S. later this year, with plans to launch it globally in 2023.


“Expanding access to Disney Plus to a broader audience at a lower price point is a win for everyone—consumers, advertisers and our storytellers,” Kareem Daniel, Disney’s chairman of media and entertainment distribution, said in a statement.

The move isn’t surprising given the growing consumer demand for cheaper streaming options. Subscription analytics firm Antenna released data last week showing that consumers increasingly opted for less expensive, ad-supported subscriptions in 2021 than in previous years. Ad-supported sign-ups grew more than 117% year-over-year, from 19.4 million in 2020 to 42.2 million last year, according to Antenna.

At the same time, a recent survey by tech consultancy Concepts Rise indicated that many users are likely to ditch a streaming service this year because of the cost.

Disney views the ad-supported offering as a way to reach its long-term target of 230 million to 260 million Disney Plus subscribers by its 2024 fiscal year. The streaming service had 129.8 million subscribers as of Jan. 1.

But some analysts are already questioning whether Disney has made the right call. Analysts at media research firm LightShed Partners noted that inserting ads can lower users’ streaming consumption, adding that Disney’s addition of an ad-supported tier “feels premature.”

“The key now is driving usage so that Disney can capture more consumer time spent per household per day,” LightShed analysts Rich Greenfield, Brandon Ross and Mark Kelley wrote on Friday. “Lowering price and jamming in ads does not feel like the answer to driving usage—if anything it feels like it will have the opposite effect.”

Disney joins the likes of HBO Max, Paramount Plus and NBCUniversal’s Peacock in offering an ad-supported option. The company also offers a bundle that packages Disney Plus with its Hulu and ESPN Plus streaming services. Rather than releasing entire seasons of content at once, Disney Plus has joined other streaming platforms in opting to drop one episode at a time on a weekly basis—a move partly designed to keep users, who may otherwise binge-watch a show and then cancel their subscriptions, on the platform for a longer period.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Office Hours: Former Lawyer Turned CEO Diankha Linear on Cultivating Community

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

​Diankha Linear
Diankha Linear

On this episode of Office Hours, Community CEO Diankha Linear joins host Spencer Rascoff to discuss her foray into the startup world and the strategic approaching to scaling up.

Read moreShow less
https://twitter.com/spencerrascoff
https://www.linkedin.com/in/spencerrascoff/
admin@dot.la

LA Tech ‘Moves’: Dreamscape, LinQuest and PetDX Gain New CEOs

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: Dreamscape, LinQuest and PetDX Gain New CEOs

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

***

Read moreShow less

This Week in ‘Raises’: ADARx Pharmaceuticals Lands $46M, PLAI Labs Scores $32M

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in ‘Raises’: ADARx Pharmaceuticals Lands $46M, PLAI Labs Scores $32M
This Week in ‘Raises’: ContractSafe Inks $27.5M, Deal Box Collects $125M

A local RNA base-editing platform raised fresh funding to advance its drug development pipeline, while a local Web3 company founded by former MySpace and Jam City founders Chris DeWolfe and Aber Whitcomb scored funding to build out an artificial intelligence backed by generative AI that allows users to create and upload their own digital assets to the game.

***

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending