Following the success of the launch of the ad-supported tier of Disney+ last December, next week, Disney is going to be launching a new ad-supported tier in Canada and in many countries across Europe, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.  And it will be expanding the ad-supported tier to more countries next year.

On November 1st, Disney+ is also expanding choice and value options with the launch of a new Standard tier, as well as Standard with Ads in select European countries and Canada. The new ad-supported plans start at £4.99/€5.99 per month in EMEA and $7.99/month in Canada. Existing subscribers in applicable markets will remain in the Premium tier with No Ads when their subscription price increases in December, unless they opt to switch to one of the new lower-priced plans.

With the push to the more lucrative ad-supported tier, it’s been revealed that Disney’s Rita Ferro is expanding her role and has been promoted to president of global advertising for Disney.

In an interview with THR, Rita spoke about the upcoming European rollout:

“They have been talking about the slow rollout we’ve planned — intentionally — we learned a ton in the U.S. It is not day one everybody shows up.  How we help customers come in and how they use the product and you want to manage it, so that you can make sure that you deliver campaigns for clients in a timely process, and in the scope of time that they would like that those campaigns to be delivered.”

The launch of the ad-supported tier is much more complicated than just launching in the US, since every country has different laws and cultural differences, which the launch team have to adjust to each country, “so that they want to make sure that they’re able to deliver it market by market.”

While the launch of the ad-supported tier in the United States didn’t have an explosion of new subscribers, over the year, this number has continued to increase significantly as price rises will incentivise new subscribers to take out the cheaper option and existing subscribers looking to cut costs, downgrade.  According to Rita Ferro, now more than 50% of new subscribers are taking up the ad-supported tier, which is up 10% from earlier this year.  She also revealed that engagement on the ad-supported version of Disney+ has increased by 35% since March.

“Engagement is one of the key metrics for advertising, so it’s a really important metric that we track,”

To tie in with the launch of the new ad-supported tier on Disney+ in Canada and some of Europe, Disney is also adding some new features to their platform, including biddable programmatic inventory, which allows ads to be targeted to include demos like ages and genders, in addition to specific locations.   The addition of being able to specify the geographic location will be a massive benefit to Disney+, for local ads, especially across Europe, as each country will require different adverts, since there isn’t much point advertising a French product that’s unavailable to subscribers in Italy.

“It gives them choice and control in the way they choose to buy, whether it’s direct through programmatic guarantees or now through biddable channels,”

Two new ad types have been added to Disney+, 15-second and 90-second ads, which offer more options for advertisers.  They’ve also made sponsorships more easy.

“In the market today on Disney+ we have all of our holiday sponsorships out for sale.  We are very, very excited about where we are from a product roadmap perspective. I think we’re in a great place.”

Rita Ferro also said in a statement about the ad-tier:

Consistent with Disney’s strategic approach, we spent the last 10 months testing, learning and listening to our consumers and clients. That’s how we continue to create viewer-first experiences while simultaneously introducing new capabilities, functionality and formats.  We’re seeing increased engagement and time spent, and now providing greater accountability for marketers through robust measurement, proving that premium content matters.”

Disney has revealed some new details on some of the new features available to advertisers on the platform:

Advanced Audience Targeting

  • For the first time, targeting is now available for marketers to reach audiences with precision, across demo (age and gender); geography (State/Designated Market Area) and Audience Segments stemming from Disney’s award-winning, proprietary first-party Audience Graph.

Programmatic Expansion

  • Disney is expanding programmatic opportunities to include biddable transactions, available through private marketplaces or invite-only auctions. Available across 30 DSPs (demand side platforms), representing large scale, midmarket and local platforms allows advertisers to unlock Disney’s premium content at scale, with more choice and control than ever before.

Diversified Ad Formats

  • Building on its legacy of market-defining, consumer-first formats, Disney+ is now accepting an expanded range of creative lengths (midrolls, and :15s to :90s), in addition to select content sponsorships, which are now available for the 2023 holiday season. 

Enhanced Measurement & Attribution

  • Disney+ has continued to build new capabilities for marketers to deliver more impact while ensuring effectiveness through measurement and attribution. The service is working with Ad Verification and Delivery vendors including DoubleVerify, Moat, IAS, AdForm, DCM, Extreme Reach, Flashtalking, Innovid, Jivox and Sizmek for offer verification, creative delivery and aggregated reporting.  
  • Disney will provide more campaign measurement solutions to advertisers than ever before – all demonstrating the value of advertising on Disney+. For example, Cuebiq and Foursquare measure foot traffic; Data Plus Math and iSpotTV provide reach and frequency insights; Kantar helps measure brand lift; and InnovidXP demonstrates web and app conversion.  

As part of the push to get more advertising, Disney will also be holding its annual advertising tech and data showcase in-person for the first time, at the Chelsea Theater at the CES conference in Las Vegas in January.

“In the last I would say five years, [CES has] become really a kicking off point for starting the upfront-season conversation in a much more robust and direct way.  The great thing about CES also is that you have a lot of international participants as well. CES and Cannes [the Cannes Lions advertising festival] both have a lot of international participants. So it’s places where we actually have had meetings on a global scale across brands and partners, and it just made sense to do it there.”

In the United States, 90% of subscribers to Hulu are on the ad-supported tier, and it’s likely, that Disney+ will push many of its subscribers, new and existing, to the ad-supported tier, especially as the price difference from the ad-free tier becomes greater.  With other plans to move Hulu into Disney+ in the United States and with new deals with cable and phone providers to include Disney+ with ads as part of a bundle, the ad-supported tier is going to become much more important to Disney, especially as it tries to push the streaming division into profitability.

While the initial launch of the ad-supported tier across Canada and some of Europe might not see an explosion of new customers, a new, cheaper alternative will likely become the most popular way people are subscribed over time.

Will you use the ad-supported version of Disney+?  Let us know on social media!

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Roger Palmer

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. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

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