Disney+ Rolls Out Basic Ad-Supported Tier and New Bundles

Disney+ has launched its anticipated ad-supported tier, Disney+ Basic, for $7.99 per month in the U.S., while the cost of its ad-free Premium subscription bumps up to $10.99 per month. The company has also reconfigured its bundles, adding the Disney Bundle Duo (Disney+ Basic with Hulu’s ad-supported plan) for $9.99 per month, and the Disney Bundle Trio Basic (Disney+ Basic, with ad-supported Hulu and ESPN+) for $12.99 per month. Disney says it’s launching “with more than 100 advertisers across all major categories.” An ad-free Disney Bundle Trio Premium is also being offered, for $19.99 per month.

“Today’s launch marks a milestone moment for Disney+ and puts consumer choice at the forefront,” Michael Paull, president of Direct to Consumer at Disney, said in an announcement.

“Today we welcome Disney+ with ads to the largest, most diverse and impactful portfolio in the industry,” added Disney Advertising president Rita Ferro. Per the announcement, that includes “an unrivaled roster of blue chip brand advertisers and from all major agency holding companies including Dentsu, Havas, Horizon, IPG, Omnicom Group, Publicis, RPA, Stagwell, and WPP.”

Netflix — which added an ad-supported service last month — “has its work cut out for it if it wants to compete successfully with Disney+’s new ad-supported tier,” writes TechCrunch, noting “Disney+ Basic not only lets viewers stream high-quality video, including Full HD, HDR10, 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision and Expanded Aspect Ratio with IMAX Enhanced, but it also lets subscribers stream on up to four supported devices simultaneously.”

While Disney+ Basic is offering a complete content catalog, Netflix is forced to withhold an estimated 5-10 percent of programs from its ad tier due to licensing restrictions, supports only 720p HD video quality, and limits subscribers to streaming on one device at a time.

Disney+ Basic will launch with “about 4 minutes of ads per hour, slightly less than the industry norm,” according to Deadline, which points out that the Disney+ move into ads leaves Apple TV+ as the “only commercial-free player among recent streaming entrants.”

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