Disney Plus will be adding a cheaper, ad-supported subscription tier sometime in “late 2022,” the company announced today. The tier will come to the US first before expanding internationally in 2023.
Crucially, Disney hasn’t said how much cheaper the advertisement-supported version of Disney Plus will be compared to the standard, ad-free plan (which currently costs $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year) or when exactly it’ll be launching the new tier of service.
Adding cheaper options with ads has become increasingly popular among subscription services. HBO Max last year introduced a $10 per month plan that shaved $5 off the ad-free price, although in addition to adding commercials, the cheaper plan also is limited to HD content (and not 4K). Peacock takes a more varied approach: a smaller selection of content with ads is available completely free, with a $4.99 per month tier that offers the full library with ads, along with a $9.99 per month level that allows customers to download titles to watch offline and gets rid of (most, but not all) of the commercials.
Even Hulu — which Disney now owns and operates — offers ad-free and advertisement-supported versions: Hulu with commercials costs $6.99 per month (or $69.99 per year), while the ad-free version of Hulu costs almost twice as much at $12.99 per month.
Adding a cheaper, ad-supported tier for Disney Plus could help the company further expand its subscriber base, something that’s increasingly becoming a priority for the future of Disney’s media empire. Given that subscriber growth has been slowing in recent months, along with Disney’s ambitious goals of reaching 230 to 260 million Disney Plus subscribers by 2024 (the service currently has 129.8 million, as of Disney’s Q1 2022 earnings), an ad-supported price tier could help draw in another big wave of new customers in the coming months.