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Disney+ now has ads, here’s what brands need to know

Disney+ now has ads, here’s what brands need to know

Disney+ has launched its ad tier globally, a major move that changes the face of CTV. Here’s why.

Disney+’s $8 per month ad-supported tier lands today (Dec. 8) a month after Netflix launched Basic with Ads for a cheaper $6.99 a month. The streamers really embrace advertising.

Disney is one of the latest major streamers to roll out an ad-funded plan, but it’s doing so with a significant head start given that competitors have been investing in adtech for years, and boast ad-funded Hulu in their arsenal. Furthermore, it is the only American streamer that has built its own ad server. Disney is believed to be asking for $50 CPM and a $2m commitment just below the $65 CPM Netflix charges.

Disney walked away from the 2022 Upfronts with a record $9 billion in advertiser commitments after announcing that its streaming inventory would be up for grabs. It was a much anticipated property.

In terms of how it will look to users, the ad load will be low with an average of four minutes per hour below the broadcast channels, which will typically have up to six minutes per hour and in line with Netflix. That’s fewer ads than NBCU-owned Peacock, which runs five minutes of ads for every hour, and Disney-controlled Hulu, which runs between nine to 12 ads in an hour.

It is also known that Disney will block ads on children’s profiles and will ban ads related to alcohol or politics.

The company’s sales house, Disney Advertising, is tasked with selling inventory to its streamer. Across the network, Disney Advertising offers over 1,800 audience segments built from 100,000 attributes. On the measurement front, Disney can track brand lift, attribution based on KPIs, social, valuation and audience verification. It also operates a self-service platform and has a programmatic marketplace.

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CEO and co-founder of IRIS.TV, Field Garthwaite, says Disney needs to introduce features that improve ad relevance and brand fitness to meet advertiser expectations.

“Incorporating video-level content data into the ad solution will help Disney increase the value of the new ad-supported options while reducing the risk of poor viewing experiences and brand sentiment by eliminating potential ad placements in inappropriate environments,” says Garthwaite.

Matt Spiegel, executive vice president, media and entertainment at TransUnion, says just because Netflix has gained more industry attention with its launch doesn’t mean marketers are less excited about Disney’s ad team.

“It’s hard to compare the two as Disney+ is more of an add-on strategy and the market expects more from Netflix after its long stance of remaining ad-free,” he says.

Although it is mostly business as usual for Disney, says Spiegel, this should not “underline” the importance of the launch. Instead, he says it “highlights Disney’s commitment to reinventing the TV business model and bringing together a full portfolio of their solutions, into the ad-supported streaming ecosystem.”

Elsewhere, Disney is also reported to be considering a membership program similar to Amazon Prime that would offer discounts to the theme parks and merchandise associated with the Disney+ streaming service. Although details are sparse, Disney CEO Bob Chapek has been vocal about wanting to cross-sell across the Disney portfolio.

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