Are Ads Coming To Disney+? Here’s What The Streaming Service Is Considering

Disney+ advertising the multiple brands under its umbrella

Subscribers have enjoyed superheroes, high school musicals and Star Wars content on Disney+ for months now without worries that important moments will be interrupted by loud and abrasive commercials. But those days might be numbered. An update from Disney's big boss Bob Chapek is a very early signal that a change may be coming for the streamer’s future, But what does that mean for paying customers?

The possible strategy shift came courtesy of Disney CEO Bob Chapek during a conference call with investors (via What’s on Disney Plus). As he was speaking on Hulu’s successful advertising strategies, Chapek turned the conversation to the thought process behind Disney+ possibly implementing an advertising model at some point. Chapek told the attendees:

And for example, Disney+ has a lot of kids that watch it, and the taste for us to consider advertising on something like Disney+ would be completely different than it might be on a Hulu. So then again, you take that individual, no one size fits all type approach that we are looking at across the world. And you say where do we have that opportunity? Where do we not have that opportunity? And then how does that change over time as we look at combining things or keeping things separate à la carte? And so, all this is malleable. Again, it’s soft clay right now. And we are very pleased with what we are seeing with addressable advertising on Hulu.

This isn't the first time an ad-supported Disney+ has been brought up, but as Bob Chapek pointed out, the advertising strategy used for Hulu wouldn’t fit Disney+’s brand. The latter is more about producing content for the family, where Hulu is more of an individualized experience aimed at specific age demographics, among others. So, targeted advertising for families could be a trickier situation, as there are many restrictions surrounding commercials geared toward children, and one assumes there would be stricter rules for who and would could hock their wares on Disney+. And then once one considers the potential eventuality where Disney+, Hulu and ESPN programming is all together in one place, things become even more complicated.

Of course, as Disney+ continues to grow, ad dollars may become increasingly important for the company to continue producing mega-budget Marvel and Star Wars programming. Bob Chapek could see the streamer’s current approach changing over time if necessary, though that time has not yet arrived. The Disney CEO addressed what the platform’s business strategy might be like in the future.

And I would say that does that lead us to think big thoughts about what could happen in other markets across the world? Certainly, it does. But for right now, again, really happy with sort of the à la carte mode that we have with this bundling opportunity and keeping things the way, they are, but that doesn’t say that in the future, we might not look at different opportunities for an increased level of addressable advertising across our platforms.

Disney's current multi-tiered setup makes Disney+ stand out from its sister streamers Hulu and ESPN+, which rely on ad revenue and subscription fees, while Disney+ makes its main revenue solely from consumers. But implementing advertising could be a double-edged sword for the streamer, since Disney+ could alienate some subscribers used to the ad-free experience. But it will likely be a long while before subscribers see those kinds of changes, so let's just continue watching all the ad-free content on Disney+ while we can.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).