Here’s How Disney+ Sneaks an Ad Into Their Subscription Service

If you’ve turned on the TV within the past few weeks, chances are you’ve seen an ad or two for Disney+. With an impressive catalog of movies and television shows, this subscription service offers Disney fans original content and recent releases of Marvel, Lucasfilms, Pixar, National Geographic, and Disney, perfect for a night of binge-watching.

Is Disney+ completely add-free? How do they have access to movies also available on television networks like Starz? Here’s how the Walt Disney Company sneaks an advertisement into the website of its streaming platform.

The Disney+ (Plus) logo is seen displayed on a smartphone
The Disney+ (Plus) logo is seen displayed on a smartphone | Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Does Disney+ have ads?

With a subscription and log-in information, Disney+ is completely ad-free. Subscribers can binge-watch television shows like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and The Simpsons without interruptions. That doesn’t mean the Disney+ website is completely free of advertisements. That is primarily due to Disney’s deal with the television network, Starz.

According to The Verge, “A Disney spokesperson confirmed that the ad is part of a revised licensing deal with Starz that was made in order to have certain titles available on Disney+ at launch. Customers will see a box prompting them to sign up for Starz, but there aren’t any ads within the actual Disney+ or ESPN+ service once they sign in.” Since it was initially reported, Disney clarified that customers should only see the ad once — after signing up for Disney+ or ESPN+.

There are no advertisements on Disney+, however, there is an ad when subscribers are signing up

Similar to subscription services like Netflix, Disney+ has no advertisements once subscribers log onto the platform. There, thousands of hours of content are available for streaming uninterrupted, especially with the recently added “continue watching” feature. Although Disney+ has exclusive content, some movies and television shows are available on television networks, including Starz, Disney Channel, and National Geographic.

Disney-owned movies that are also available for streaming on Starz include Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However, since the streaming platform’s premiere, content that was previously available on Netflix moved to Disney+. That includes Marvel movies like the 2017 release Thor: Ragnarok. Additionally, Disney+ has original series, such as The Mandalorian, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, and The Imagineering Story, only available to subscribers.

Reportedly, Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an investors call during August 2018, that they “are encumbered by licensing arrangements that we have with a number of different entities, notably Netflix and Starz.”

Does the Disney+ Bundle have ad-free Hulu?

For fans of sports and television shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, Disney+ offers a package that includes ESPN+ and Hulu for a discounted rate. With this “bundle,” subscribers have the option to purchase ad-free. They can also purchase Hulu with ads, the former costing a few extra dollars per month.

According to the Disney+ website, the Disney+ bundle with Hulu’s ads costs 12.99 per month. Disney+ alone costs subscribers 6.99 per month. Fans can also purchase these services on a yearly basis for a discounted rate.

To learn more about Disney+ and to subscribe, visit their website.