Thursday, September 21, 2023

Disney+ won’t show ads to preschoolers in the new streaming plan

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Shreya Christina
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You may not have to worry about Disney+ bombarding you with marketing when the ad-supported tier arrives later this year. Disney has confirmed until TechCrunch that it will limit the volume of ads to an average of four minutes per hour with this cheaper plan, or much less than the 7.4 minutes you endure with Hulu. Content aimed at preschoolers will not contain ads, and Disney will “never” target ads to individual children.

It’s still not clear how much the ad-supported tier will cost. However, during its last income call that it would likely increase the price of the ad-free version (currently $8 per month) once the more affordable plan arrives.

The reluctance would not be surprising. Disney+ is mostly built around family-friendly content, and a large ad load can be seen as taking advantage of the high percentage of children watching viewers. It just needs to look at YouTube as an example. Google’s video service has been criticized by politicians and other critics for allowing targeted ads for children, not to mention exploitative videos. YouTube responded by restricting ad targeting and demonizing “low quality” videos that are overly commercial or promote bad behavior. Restricted ads can both prevent a regulatory crackdown and reassure businesses that are nervous about where their ads will appear.

As it stands, Disney cannot afford to alienate customers. While the company said on its call that its growth strategy is still on track, its direct-to-consumer division (including streaming) saw losses climb to $887 million in the quarter as licensing fees and other costs hit hard. The more people who sign up for the ad-supported tier, the faster Disney+ can make a profit.

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