Disney+ launches in six days and its original plan to be ad-free has been altered -- albeit slightly.
The new streaming service designed to take on Netflix, is adding advertising promoting the Starz pay cable TV service. According to the tech news site, The Verge, Disney will include an ad that will appear after consumers complete the registration for Disney+ and the ESPN+ service. A Disney spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that the move came about following a revised licensing deal with Starz in exchange to have Disney films such as "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" as part of the new streamer's much-ballyhooed launch.
Last spring, Kevin Mayer, Disney’s head of direct-to-consumer entertainment, promised investors at an event that “Disney+ will be a wholly subscription-supported service.”
While Disney is selling Disney+ as the home to all things Disney, Pixar and Marvel, the reality is the Magic Kingdom's distribution machine has licensed several titles not only to Starz, but to soon-to-be streaming arch-rival Netflix.
Since 2016, Netflix has gotten new theatrical releases from Disney about nine months after their theatrical run. So don't expect to see the likes of "Mary Poppins Returns" or "Christopher Robin" unless you are a subscriber to Netflix.
But don't expect a Starz like agreement that sees an ad for Netflix associated with Disney+ in order to gain access to the Disney titles.
What is NOT on Disney+ has become such an area of interest that it has spurred the creation of a Twitter account @NotOnDisney+ which has garnered more than 1,600 followers in just a matter of days.
The site features images of films such as "The Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Jungle Book" with the release date and no other information except the account name: Not on Dsiney+
But the missing titles may not stop the Disney faithful from getting on board. In mid-October, analysts at UBS polled 1,000 consumers and 86 percent were aware of the pending new service and of them, 44 percent said they were “likely” to subscribe. Disney executives are anticipating Disney between 60 million to 90 million subscribers at launch.
The much-anticipated debut is Nov. 12 with an initial price of $6.99.