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Streaming giants race to launch advertising-supported subscription tiers

It’s no longer a case of whether Netflix will roll out an advertising-­supported option, but rather when. What impact 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+ announced it would expand its offering with an ad-supported subscription in addition to its ad-free option, beginning in the US late this year, with plans to expand internationally in 2023.

Kareem Daniel, chairperson of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, said: “Expanding access to Disney+ to a broader audience at a lower price point is a win for everyone — consumers, advertisers and our story­tellers.” The ad-supported offering is viewed as essential to Disney’s target of reaching 230 million to 260 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024. Until recently, both Disney+ and Netflix had offered ad-free streaming, but advertising revenue will bolster their bottom lines.

Disney has already enjoyed success with its Hulu tier, which is more lucrative per subscriber due to revenue from advertisers. Netflix seems to be keeping its cards close to its chest, though. Variety magazine has reported that Net­flix is aiming to roll out the new offering on 1 November — pipping Disney+ to the post. According to numerous reports, Net­flix plans to release it in multiple countries, including the US, Britain, Canada, France and Germany.

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