Today, the latest expansion of Disney+ has been launched in the United Kingdom, Canada and in multiple countries across Europe, which has seen the addition of a new ad-supported tier called “Standard With Ads”, alongside two ad-free options “Standard” & “Premium”, offering consumers a range of subscription plans and increased flexibility to suit their needs. Disney is also rolling out both the “Standard” & “Premium” tiers in many other countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
This expanded offering allows customers to enjoy world-class entertainment for just £4.99, including exclusive original series, blockbuster movies, and binge-worthy shows, all tailored to their streaming preferences.
On Tuesday, Disney held a special event in London to share these details with members of the press, which I attended, where we got to see a preview of how the ad tier launches and other details on the new tiers.
The new ad-supported tier will have one of the lightest loads of adverts when compared to other streaming services, with around 4 minutes of commercials per hour. There will be some new features added alongside the ad-supported tier, including an indicator in the top corner that counts down how long the total adverts will be running for. During a TV show, adverts will be placed within each episode, highlighting them on the timeline, so it’s easy to see when they are coming up. With movies, Disney+ will only show adverts before the film starts and not during the middle of it, giving the viewer the best experience possible.
And for younger audiences, there will be no adverts for any shows within a children’s Junior profile or on preschool content on any account. While adverts run in between shows for older children and for shows that are deemed family-friendly, they will be appropriate for the age group watching. And in adult profiles, for those over 18, Disney+ will offer a more comprehensive selection of commercials.
Luke Bradley Jones, General Manager of Disney+ EMEA shared some details with us regarding how they are going to be treating ads on the kid’s Junior profiles.
So, it is really important to us that Disney+ is seen as a safe space for kids. We heard repeatedly that is how our customers and our most loyal fans view us. And so we guard that very carefully, and we track our audience’s views on that very closely as well. So there’s a few ways that we try and do that and ensure that continues to be the case. The first is that junior mode is a completely ad-free experience. It’s hand-curated by the Disney+ programming team to make sure the small members of the household are going to have a totally safe, totally ad free experience. Secondly, we have profiles, same as other services, but we have an extra level of focus on embedding those in the signup journey and getting our customers to use those profiles as much as possible and set age ratings for each profile so there’s an age-appropriate rating for the different members of the household. When you were talking about how that creates a little bit of excitement.A third comes in, which is the pin protection. So to stop my 11-year-old daughter from flipping her profile to 18+, if you could, you can put a pin on there and make sure that only the account holder can change that age rating. So those things altogether mean that we continue to create this super safe space, and our customers feel really reassured by that.
Many well-known brands have signed up to advertise on Disney+ in the UK, including H&M, British Airways, L’Oreal, Charlotte Tilbury and Pandora. Plus, the infamous John Lewis Christmas advert will also be shown on Disney+ during the holiday period.
Customers can now access the following three Disney+ subscription plans and their features:
Standard with Ads
Exclusive Originals and Library Content
Up to Full HD 1080p
Up to Full HD 1080p
Up to 4K UHD & HDR
5.1 and Stereo
5.1 and Stereo
Since Disney+ launched, it has only offered one tier, which is now going by the new name of “Disney+ Premium”. But customers now have a number of different options available. The new Standard tier is priced at the same price as Disney+ was earlier this year, but the only major differences are that it this tier doesn’t include 4K, HDR or Dolby Atmos, but more importantly, it only allows two people to stream Disney+ at the same time.
The low-cost ad-supported tier, at just £4.99 a month, is incredible value for money, if you’re willing to watch about 4 minutes of adverts per hour. This new tier is priced lower than when Disney+ launched and offers a much cheaper alternative, which will likely mean more people will sign up for Disney+ in the future but also for those wanting to save money, which will likely reduce churn for the platform.
Deborah Armstrong also spoke about how advertising isn’t new for Disney, saying:
So yeah, it’s not new for us. Advertising has always been part of what we do as a business, and here in the region, we have our networks across Kids, sports and entertainment, as well as our digital apps. And we’ve been selling quality advertising and partnerships for decades, and Disney+ with ads launched in the US a year ago. And I think it’s safe to say that we really do have the leading advanced advertising platform there in the US across Hulu, ESPN and Disney+, as well as obviously our networks business, where we have brands like ABC, FX, Freeform, National Geographic, etc. So it’s not new for us, it really is part of our DNA. It’s what we do, and I think that that’s put us in really good shape for what we’re about to do because we have the knowledge, and we have the experience, and we have the relationship. So I think we’re in a great position to adapt to. It’s really exciting new development.
Disney+ will continue to offer a wide selection of TV shows and films from many of Disney’s studios, including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, FX, ABC, Disney Television Studios, Searchlight Pictures, and 20th Century Television. Over the next year, Disney+ will be getting lots of brand new TV series, blockbuster movies, and exclusive Originals, including “Culprits”, “Percy Jackson and The Olympians,” and “Indiana Jones: Dial of Destiny.” And the good news is that every movie and show will be available across all the different tiers.
Luke Bradley Jones, General Manager of Disney+ EMEA, said in a statement regarding the launch:
“Today’s launch represents a significant milestone for Disney+ in the UK, offering customers the flexibility to select a plan that suits their needs and budget. All of our customers can enjoy a wide range collection of award-winning original TV series and blockbuster movies, including FX’s “The Bear,” “Elemental,” and “Coleen Rooney: The Real Wagatha Story,” along with fan favourites like Season 2 of Marvel Studios’ “Loki” and the latest series of “The Simpsons” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Deborah Armstrong, Country Manager UK&I, GM Media Networks and Advertising EMEA, added:
“Disney+ offers advertisers a prime opportunity to join our premium streaming platform, featuring our beloved brands and an exceptional line-up of movies and TV series. The response from our clients and agencies has been overwhelmingly positive, firmly showcasing the quality of our content and the strong bond our brands share with audiences worldwide. We’re partnering with a fantastic range of brands in all markets right from day one.”
The launch of the new ad-supported tier across the UK and in other countries is going to make Disney+ more affordable for many new customers and provide a cheaper option for existing subscribers, who are looking to save money. Ultimately, the choice is going to be down to the customer. Over time, it’s likely the number of people on the ad-supported tier will continue to grow, especially as this is the tier that will likely be included in any promotions with other suppliers in the future and also that price is likely to encourage more people to try that option first, then upgrade if they need it later.
Are you going to sign up to the new ad-supported tier? Let us know on social media!
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.