It’s no longer a question of whether Netflix will roll out an ad-supported option, but rather when. The impact the ads will have on the price subscribers will pay is uncertain, but one of Netflix’s competitors, Disney+, announced last month that prices would drop for its ad-supported option.
Disney+ has announced that it will expand its offering with an ad-supported subscription in addition to its ad-free option, starting in the United States at the end of this year, with plans to expand internationally in 2023.
He has now put a date on it, announcing that the ad tier will launch in early December, costing $7.99 (R137) per month in the US.
In South Africa, the current monthly subscription costs R119.
Kareem Daniel, President of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, said, “Expanding access to Disney+ to a wider audience at a lower price is a win for everyone – consumers, advertisers and our storytellers.”
The ad-supported offering is seen as key to Disney’s goal of reaching 230-260 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024.
Until recently, Disney+ and Netflix offered ad-free streaming, but ad revenue will bolster their bottom line.
Disney has already seen success with its Hulu tier, which is more lucrative per subscriber due to advertiser revenue.
Netflix seems to be keeping its cards close to its chest, however. Variety The magazine reported that Netflix intended to roll out the new offering on November 1, bringing Disney+ to the post.
According to multiple reports, Netflix plans to stream it in several countries, including the United States, Britain, Canada, France, and Germany.
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Advertisers should pay through the nose, as Netflix apparently plans to charge around $65 (R1,113) for 1,000 views, capped at $20 million per year per advertiser so viewers don’t see the same ads too often .
Customers can expect to pay between $7 and $9 per month. The level supported by advertising, according to Variety, will have an advertising load of four minutes per hour for television broadcasts. For movies, ads will run before they start.
Asked about Netflix’s advertising plans in South Africa, a spokesperson said the local operation had not yet received detailed information.
“Although a date has been mentioned, there is still much speculation in the media as to the final decision on where the adverts will be placed…as well as the cost, which many media around the world are speculating at around $7 for $9, which of course will be different in many countries where Netflix charges monthly subscriptions in local currency.
In South Africa, the top three players – Netflix, Prime Video and Showmax – held 84% of the streaming market in the first quarter of this year.
Streaming guide JustWatch says Prime Video is hot on Netflix’s heels, with just a 3% gap between the two giants. Showmax, the local platform, is almost six times larger than the next, Mubi and Apple TV+. JustWatch has yet to provide data for Disney+, which only entered the market on May 18 this year.
Customers have complained of technical issues with the Disney+ service, including poor video and sound quality. It is served in South Africa and Asia by the Hotstar platform in India.
Disney+ has a 2.2 rating (out of 5) on Google Play, based on votes from 12,930 users. On the App Store, it only got 2 out of 5, based on votes from over 1,200 users. Hellopeter customers are even less impressed, with just two two-star reviews and 40 one-star reviews.
Asked about inferior service complaints in South Africa, a Disney+ spokesperson said Daily Maverick that the company is “committed to delivering a premium streaming experience to all Disney+ subscribers, and Hotstar is a fantastic platform to operate in low-bandwidth/mobile-first environments”.
She added, “Our approach to providing the best possible user experience for subscribers is continuous and iterative. This applies to all markets where we operate. DM