According to Disney, the company will roll out the "Disney+ Basic" on December 8 this year. The ad-supported plan will cost $7.99 a month, displacing the current ad-free plan. Also, Disney is enacting a price hike for the ad-free plan, "Disney+ Premium", on the same day. You'll need to spend $10.99 a month or $109.99 a year (a significant jump from the current $79.99) if you want to watch your favorite Disney+ shows without ads.
If you're worried that Disney+ wants subscribers to shell out more to skip ads, don't be. Disney CEO Bob Chapek reassured audiences during the company's third-quarter earnings call that the Basic plan will have "lower ad load and frequency to ensure a great experience for viewers." To be more specific, Disney intends to keep ad breaks to around four minutes an hour.
In addition, kids' profiles won't have ads. Finally, Disney is expecting the ad-supported tier to launch on all international markets by next year.
Streaming services prided themselves on an ad-free watching experience for years. Now that Disney has opened the floodgates, other companies will follow. We know for sure that HBO Max and Netflix are planning to launch ad-supported tiers within the next year. In the case of Netflix, it will impose content restrictions for its cheaper plan.
Disney Plus isn't the only streaming service that's getting a price increase. The company is also adjusting the price of its other offerings. Hulu's prices will go from $6.99 to $7.99 and $12.99 to $14.99 for its ad-supporter and ad-free tier, respectively, starting on December 8. Meanwhile, ESPN Plus will now cost $9.99 a month (from $6.99) on August 23.
Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution chairman, Kareem Daniel, believes that the new pricing lets the company "cater to the diverse needs" of its viewers. After welcoming 14.4 million new subscribers for Q3, it will be interesting to see if next year's numbers will reflect a similarly positive trend once Disney implements the Basic and Premium plans.