Disney+’s ad tier – which launches on 1 November – has drawn a mixed response from media buyers, who have described it as “limited”.
One media buyer said that the platform feels “more family than most” so it cannot take gambling or alcohol advertising and it is currently uncertain as to whether brands will be able to advertise HFSS products.
They added: "They've got a lot of restriction in terms of what they can take."
Disney's "more humble" launch learnt from Netflix's "bullish" entry to the ad-tier market last year. That platform charged £50 CPM and asked agencies to commit to spending at least £5m in order to place their clients’ ads in the first place.
At the time, buyers described its launch as “extraordinarily bullish” and “arrogant”. Since then, Netflix's prices have come down to £30-£40 CPM, more in line with BVOD rates.
By comparison, Disney+ has offered buyers a 30-second, 20-second or 15-second slot for £35 CPM (net) upon launch and clients can only spend a maximum of £15,000 a month on campaigns.
Targeting options are also limited, with buyers able to target over-18 and under-18 demographics.
Currently, Netflix’s UK ad tier has 600,000 subscribers and media buyers expect Disney+ to follow a similar trajectory.
One said: "They're launching very, very softly. There's client interest as always when something big like this comes up, but no one's knocking down the door for it."
The brand will relabel the current Disney+ offering as Disney+ Premium and raise the price to £10.99. Another tier will continue to charge the existing £7.99 price, and will be known as Disney Standard. However, it will reduce the number of people being able to stream simultaneously to two. Disney will charge £4.99 a month for its ad tier.
One media buyer praised this initiative and said: “The fact that they are putting the price up for the people that are committed to it already, it [incentivises] them to downgrade to the standard with ads.”
They added that it was a “nice new place to capture a new audience”.
Another media buyer said: “Advertisers and agencies should be happy that we can advertise on these SVOD platforms, because the quality is just unreal. CPMs can often be a bit misleading because it's all subjective and relative to KPIs.”
Ultimately, buyers can be excited about the opportunity to diversify their media mix further. Disney's "soft" launch, though, left some buyers looking forward to Amazon's Prime Video offering.
Set to launch to the public in early 2024 in the UK, US, Canada and Germany, Amazon will automatically start showing ads to its 12.9 million users (Q1 2023) rather than asking them if they want to opt in.
The platform estimates that Prime Video Ads will reach more than 15m viewers within the UK on a monthly basis.
By operating on an opt-out rather than opt-in model, the platform can expect a larger audience to accept ads.
One media buyer said: “The whole registered user base will become ad-supported customers, whereas Netflix and Disney are trying to grow theirs from scratch. Overnight Amazon is going to have a pretty awesome scale.”
Deborah Armstrong, general manager, media networks and advertising, EMEA at Disney, said: “There has been an overwhelmingly positive response from clients and agencies regarding Disney+ advertising.
"We're launching on 1 November with an impressive roster of brands and campaigns in all our launch markets in EMEA. The strong demand from clients and agencies underscores the quality of our content and the strong connection our brands have with highly engaged audiences worldwide.”