Disney+ Apparently Has Rules About Which Commercials Will And Won't Play For Its New Ad-Supported Subscription Plan

Mr. Burns holding a coca cola in The Simpsons commercial
(Image credit: The Simpsons)

While everyone would likely love to live in a world where streaming services farted out money and didn’t need additional means of funding beyond subscription fees, that’s not a feasible option for platforms like Netflix and Peacock that aim to deliver top-notch original content alongside licensed hits. Disney+ will be one of the latest streaming providers to diversify its subscription plans with a cheaper option for customers who won’t mind watching commercials during their binge sessions of upcoming MCU series. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the House of Mouse reportedly isn’t going to allow all manner of advertising on its top-tier service, and it apparently has some rules and restrictions in place.

What Ads Reportedly Won’t Be Shown On Disney+

According to Variety, who cites a pair of media buyers with insider knowledge as sources, Disney executives are being cautious about unleashing a wave of advertising for products and services that run counter to its family-friendly programming and outlook. As such, it’s stated that the company has already made it clear it will not be advertising for alcohol companies, and it will not take on any political advertisements. 

Both of those ideas seem perfectly understandable, since one probably wouldn’t expect to catch commercials for tequila and Miller Lite in the midst of watching High School Musical: The Musical: The Series or The Mighty Ducks. (Okay, maybe a beer commercial during a hockey series isn’t the wildest notion.) Disney+ also doesn’t want to risk alienating any potential viewers with political ads, despite (or perhaps because of) the company’s recent fiasco with its public stance regarding controversial Florida legislature.

As well, Disney+ reportedly doesn’t want to run commercials promoting any other streaming services, rival studios, or  given the heightened sense of competition by way of digital audiences. So don’t expect to see Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy or Prime Video’s The Boys Season 3 trailers popping up. That said, it’s unclear if that also includes Hulu ads, though one can probably expect not to see commercials for more adult fare such as Candy and its plot-based deaths or Mayans M.C. and its far more shocking deaths being advertised on the family-geared service. 

When Will Disney+’s Ads Run, And How Often? 

In sticking with what has obviously worked for Disney by way of linear television, Disney+ will reportedly still opt for largely ad-free programming when it comes to shows aimed at younger, preschool-aged audiences. (Specifically, it’s stated if a viewer profile indicates a young child is the one watching, ads will be eschewed.) As well, the company will be particular about what ads are running alongside other shows geared specifically for children of other ages. 

While Hulu’s ad-based plan is known to air quite a few commercials per each hour of programming — roughly 9-12 ads of 15-60 seconds — Disney+ is supposedly aiming for far fewer interruptions. The goal is said to be an average of four minutes or less of ads per hour, which would be on the lower end for just about all ad-based service plans out there, and is comparable to HBO Max.

There are obviously still lots of questions surrounding Disney+’s ad-based plan, such as whether or not the commercials will be traditional spots, or if the service will take a page from Peacock’s playbook by trying to implement the ad into the streaming experience itself. At this point, all we can do is wait to see how things play out, but I know I'm hoping Obi-Wan Kenobi and others feature ads for the latest and greatest Star Wars toys, giving things a Saturday Morning Cartoon vibe.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.