Disney+ Lays Down Ad Rules: No Politicians, No Competition, No Booze

”We can see the additive nature of an ad-driven service that enables us to keep the price lower,” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek
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The upcoming, ad-supported tier of Disney+ won’t be allowing just anyone sell their wares on the family-friendly streamer.

The Mouse House has “signaled to agencies” that it won’t take ads for alcohol or any kind of political advertising, Variety reports. Not at its launch, anyway.

Disney+ also won’t be taking commercials from competing outlets and studios for fear they would lure away precious viewers. Disney has tried this tactic before. In 2019, the company said it would stop running Netflix spots on Disney networks like ABC, Freeform and FX, but that move that turned out to be temporary.

Disney+ will be scrupulous about how it controls its ad strategy in other areas, as well. For example, it will run just four minutes of ads for every hour of programming. That’s a shot across the bow to Peacock, which said it would run no more than five minutes of ads per hour of programming upon launch. It would keep the company competitive with  HBO Max, which has attempted to limit commercials to four minutes of airtime per hour to four. In contrast, Hulu could run between 9 and 12 commercials per hour, according to Variety.

The ad-supported tier “is going to give us the ability to reach an even more broad audience as we expand Disney+ across multiple price points,” said Disney chief Bob Chapek, in a speech to investors last Wednesday. “And using some of our other services, we can see the additive nature of an ad-driven service that enables us to keep the price lower. Of course, that’s made up for by the additional revenue that we would get per user on the advertising spending.”

Disney has always maintained a high level of control over its ad strategy—it does not run any ads on children’s network Disney Junior, and runs only sponsorship messages on the Disney Channel.

This launch comes at a time when the eyes of Wall Street and the entertainment industry are looking at streamers with skepticism after the disastrous reveal from Netflix last month that the company had lost 200,000 users.

Meanwhile, Disney’s second-quarter earnings report, released last Wednesday, was strong, and showed that Disney had added 7.9 million subscribers to its Disney+ streaming service, which was 52 percent above what analysts had projected.


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