Disney CEO Bob Chapek weighs in on the likelihood of the currently ad-free Disney+ platform one day featuring them like fellow streamer Hulu.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek hasn’t ruled out having ads on Disney+ at some point in the future. Since its debut in November 2019, Disney+ has become not only a major player but a leader in the streaming market. Though many doubted Disney’s ability to break into an already crowded field, the company found success with its breadth of existing content, including properties from Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar. However, it’s the streamer’s original programming that has arguably made the biggest splash.
As the Star Wars franchise’s first live-action series, The Mandalorian brought subscribers to Disney+ as soon as it launched. Season 2 lured back those who may have stopped using the service temporarily, and the show’s upcoming spinoffs The Book of Boba Fett and Ahsoka will likely have a similar effect. Disney+ has been equally praised for its Marvel Cinematic Universe shows, particularly WandaVision, which earned Marvel its first-ever Emmy awards. With several more on the way, including Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, and Moon Knight, Disney+ won’t suffer from a lack of content anytime soon.
Despite the streamer’s success without using ads, some have wondered if they may be in Disney+’s future at some point. Chapek addressed this during a virtual Q&A at the Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference (via What’s On Disney Plus). He emphasized the importance of realizing “the different target audiences of the platforms,” explaining that could factor into the decision to include ads:
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. So then again, you take that individual, no one size fits all type approach that we are looking at across the world. And you say where do we have that opportunity? Where do we not have that opportunity? And then how does that change over time as we look at combining things or keeping things separate à la carte? And so all this is malleable. Again, it’s soft clay right now. And we are very pleased with what we are seeing with addressable advertising on Hulu.
And I would say that does that lead us to think big thoughts about what could happen in other markets across the world? Certainly, it does. But for right now, again, really happy with sort of the à la carte mode that we have with this bundling opportunity and keeping things the way they are, but that doesn’t say that in the future, we might not look at different opportunities for an increased level of addressable advertising across our platforms.
Chapek makes a good point about the number of kids who watch Disney+ vs. Hulu. Though Disney+ includes some content geared more towards adults, it prides itself on being a largely family-friendly platform, taking great pains to stay that way. In contrast, Hulu includes some incredibly dark shows and movies such as The Handmaid’s Tale. With ads having far more of an effect on adults than children, it makes sense to keep them on Hulu for the time being, especially since Disney+ has been such a success without them.
However, it’s also worth noting that Disney+ already has a way to bring in revenue in addition to subscriber fees: Premier Access. Though that particular feature has been controversial due to the Black Widow lawsuit and success of Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings, which earned an initial straight theatrical release, there’s no doubt Premier Access is another way for Disney+ to make money. This could help Disney+ stay ad-free for quite a while, though it sounds like Chapek isn’t ruling anything out.
More: Every Upcoming Marvel Studios Disney+ TV Show
Source: What’s On Disney Plus
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