by James Coulter
Since its launch in 2019, more than 150 million subscribers have been able to enjoy a nearly endless selection of Disney movies and shows streaming on their televisions and other smart devices for a low monthly fee and without any pesky commercials.
However, earlier this year, Disney announced it would be making major changes to its titular streaming service. What once was ad-free has now become a two-tiered system with and without advertisements.
As of Dec. 8, Disney Plus now offers two separate plans: a “basic” plan with ads for $7.99 a month, and a “premium” plan without ads for $10.99. This change mirrors decisions made by other streaming services like Netflix and HBO Max, which offer separate plans for ad-free and ad-supported content.
Many Disney Plus subscribers have since reacted accordingly to the change. As Deadline reports, “about one-quarter of current U.S. subscribers are expected to opt for the lower-cost version with ads.”
However, many people have raised concerns about Disney Plus and other streaming services forcing them to pay extra to skip ads, something that had been absent on these services for a long time. After all, what’s the point of paying to watch movies and shows if you still have to deal with commercials?
Disney’s decision to create a separate ad-supported plan was made following severe losses in profits for streaming. The LA Times reports that while its “streaming operation has surpassed 235 million subscribers”, Disney’s direct-to-consumer division, which includes Disney Plus, suffered “an operating loss of nearly $1.5 billion, more than doubling its loss of $630 million during the same quarter a year earlier.”
Disney Plus is not alone in creating separate plans with and without ads. Netflix announced that it will offer a “basic” ad-supported plan for $6.99 a month ($9.99 for ads), while HBO Max previously created an ad-supported plan for $9.99 a month (14.99 with ads).
Over the past decade, Americans have “cut the cords” of their cable in favor of streaming services, with millions giving up their cable subscriptions and subscribing to streaming services. By the end of the year, more than 55% of Americans will cut their cords, according to reports by TechJury.
When Disney Plus and other streaming services are experiencing losses, it is expected that they will attempt to recoup them. However, with Americans nationwide experiencing mass inflation raising the costs of necessities, why should it be on consumers to recoup these costs by paying extra for the same services without ads—something they did not see on these services to begin with?
What do you think? Are you willing to pay extra to skip ads on Disney Plus? Or will you settle for paying the same for commercials? Leave your comments on Facebook.