Disney+ Advertising-Supported Tier Launches With New Bundles, 100 Launch Sponsors

Disney+ Advertising-Supported Tier Launches With New Bundles, 100 Launch Sponsors

Disney’s next big bet on ad-supported streaming has officially launched.

On Thursday, The Walt Disney Co. rolled out the ad-supported tier of Disney+, and with it a revised suite of bundled offerings to give consumers more streaming options.

Starting Thursday, the standard tier of Disney+ (with no ads) will see its price rise to $10.99 per month, with Disney+ Basic (with ads) taking its place at $7.99 per month. In addition to including ads, the basic plan will not allow downloads, or extra features like GroupWatch and Dolby Atmos support at launch.

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The Disney Bundle, which combines Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, will be getting a revision, as well.

The Disney Bundle Duo will combine the ad-supported tiers of Disney+ and Hulu for $9.99 per month, while Disney Bundle Trio Basic will combine the ad-supported tiers of Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+, for $12.99. The Disney Bundle Trio Premium will cost $19.99 per month and include the ad-free tiers of Disney+ and Hulu.

Hulu’s Live TV plan will cost $69.99 per month and include the ad-supported plans of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+.

The launch is a critical one for Disney, which is hoping to leverage its massive advertising business further in streaming, hopefully making Disney+ profitable in the process.

To that end, Disney says that more than 100 advertisers have signed on to the Disney+ with ads streaming launch, representing a dozen categories like retail, automotive and CPG. Disney says the creative will have “volume and variety,” part of an effort to minimize one of streaming’s biggest faults with advertising: Repetitive spots.

Disney is already familiar with ad-supported streaming, with Hulu and ESPN+ having been in the space for years (Netflix CEO Reed Hastings cited Hulu as proof that ad-supported streaming makes sense as a model), and has the advertising infrastructure to support the launch, which is being overseen by ad sales chief Rita Ferro.

“Today’s launch marks a milestone moment for Disney+ and puts consumer choice at the forefront,” said Michael Paull, president of Disney’s direct to consumer business, in a statement. “With these new ad-supported offerings, we’re able to deliver greater flexibility for consumers to enjoy the full breadth and depth of incredible storytelling from The Walt Disney Company.”

Disney+ launches its ad tier just weeks after Netflix launched a version of its own, leaning on partner Microsoft to help get its version off the ground. For now, Netflix only has one ad tier (the basic plan for $6.99 per month), though Ted Sarandos said at a UBS conference earlier this week that he expects the company to add additional tiers over time.