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Iger: Ad-supported Disney Plus to roll out in Europe this year

"I'm incredibly bullish on our longer-term advertising positioning," said Disney CEO Bob Iger

The Walt Disney Co CEO Bob Iger has announced the advertising-supported tier of Disney Plus will launch in Europe this year.

Iger made the announcement during Disney’s Q3 2023 earnings call.

“We plan to launch our ad tier on Disney Plus in Europe by the end of this calendar year,” said Iger, “which will drive both increased inventory and revenue over the long term.

“The truth is, we have only just begun to scratch the surface of what we can do with advertising on Disney Plus, and I’m incredibly bullish on our longer-term advertising positioning,” he continued.

Iger also said the company plans to set a higher price for the ad-free tier later this year to “better reflect the value of our content offerings”, however he didn’t state whether that price rise would relate to countries where the ad-tier is already in place or to new rollouts.

As part of its Q2 2023 earnings report, the company revealed the number of global Disney Plus subscribers has dropped to 157.8 million subscribers, down from 161.8 million at the end of the last quarter and down from 161.8 million a year ago.

Disney Plus has been expected to follow Netflix by launching an advertising-supported tier for some time. According to analyst Paolo Pescatore, the move will further diversify Disney’s business model in streaming.

“Ultimately the move mirrors Netflix’s strategy, he tells TVBEurope. “All players do need to tread carefully given the reliance on subscription-based revenue. Therefore there is concern for cannibalisation of revenue.”