Disney+ may possibly soon introduce advertising, based on recent comments from Disney CEO Bob Chapek. While this isn't by any means a guarantee yet, this is the first time the possibility has been officially acknowledged. Chapek mentioned the successful advertising strategy of Hulu as a reason for the consideration.
First reported by a site dedicated to the streaming service called What's On Disney Plus (woah), the CEO made these comments recently at the Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference. Chapek was asked specifically about the way Hulu has incorporated ads into its service, and the executive praised the strategy before suggesting that they are looking into applying something similar to Disney+.
Even so, any approach Disney+ would take with the introduction of ads would need to be different, as Chapek brings attention to the different in audience - namely, that Disney+ has a lot of young eyes on its content. With consideration towards children among the audience, the approach to advertising would have to be different.
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. [...] Again, it’s soft clay right now. And we are very pleased with what we are seeing with addressable advertising on Hulu.
However this plays out, users should not expect ads to pop up anytime soon. At the same conference Chapek expressed satisfaction with the current state and model of Disney's streaming service - which recently celebrated the launch of the experimental Star Wars: Visions anime anthology. No streaming service can ever afford to stagnate though, so satisfaction hardly means the company is resting on its laurels.
Advertising seems to be an avenue Disney leadership is interested to take, but the fruition of these interests won't be witnessed until a few years from now, as development and implementation needs time. It isn't clear how audiences will respond to seeing ads on a service they are paying a subscription for and was previous ad-free, but apparently Hulu made it work.
A logical approach to this model would be to keep ads from interrupting content actually being streamed by a paying user, and instead placing ad spaces throughout the website which users see when browsing rather than watching. Additionally, the quantity of ads could be linked to the 'level' of subscription the user has, with more expensive packages still offering an ad-free experience.
As for more immediate developments, Disney+ will be available in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan starting in November.