In the wake of its legal entanglement with the state of Florida, the Walt Disney Corporation has said streaming service Disney+ will not accept political advertisement when it launches an ad-supported tier later this year.
The family-friendly platform will be offering a cheaper subscription model with commercials, but Disney+ will turn away alcohol companies or political groups looking to buy streaming airtime placement — at the AVOD tier’s launch time, at least. Disney executives signaled to agencies Tuesday that the less expensive Disney+ iteration will “not accept alcohol or political advertising at launch,” and additionally will not air ads from rival outlets or entertainment studios like Netflix, Amazon, or Apple. Disney previously announced that Netflix ads would be banned from ABC, Freeform, and FX networks on air.
“Since its launch, advertisers have been clamoring for the opportunity to be part of Disney+ and not just because there’s a growing demand for more streaming inventory,” Rita Ferro, the president of advertising for Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution (DMED), said in a press statement. “Disney+ with advertising will offer marketers the most premium environment in streaming with our most beloved brands, Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, and National Geographic.”
We do not yet have a launch date nor a price point for the ad-supported option. Disney+ ended the first quarter of 2022 with nearly 138 million streaming subscribers. The platform is hoping to reach 230-260 million Disney+ subscribers by the end of 2024.
At its AVOD launch, the streamer will not run ads of any sort for kids profiles, which inherently have controls blocking much of the Disney+ library and highlighting specific content for younger viewers. Parental Controls-restricted profiles, however, will include advertising except with shows geared toward pre-school audiences.
Ads on Disney+ are expected to run an average of four minutes per hour or less, meaning the platform will have fewer advertisements per hour than NBCUniversal’s Peacock, which clocks in at five minutes per hour. HBO Max similarly has curbed commercials to four per hour. Meanwhile, Disney+ sister streamer Hulu has nine to 12 ads per hour, according to a February 2022 report from MediaRadar. Netflix recently stated that an ad-supported tier will launch at the end of 2022 in an effort to retain subscribers. Details of the duration of ads for the streamer have yet to be revealed.
The Disney+ ban on adult-themed advertisements comes on the heels of the backlash surrounding the decision to bring Netflix’s Marvel series “Daredevil,” “Luke Cage,” “Jessica Jones,” “The Defenders,” “The Punisher,” and “The Iron Fist” to the Disney+ streaming platform earlier this year. The Parents Television Council (PTC) issued a statement condemning the decision to incorporate the Marvel Defenders series on the platform due to mature audience ratings.
Walt Disney Co. has been at the center of controversy for financially-backing and later denouncing Florida law “Don’t Say Gay.” Governor Ron DeSantis retaliated by abolishing the Walt Disney Co. special district. DeSantis claimed that Disney aimed to “inject sexuality into the programming that is provided to our youngest kids.” Florida taxpayers have since filed an ongoing lawsuit over the district repeal.