Disney+ is expected to join the growing list of streaming platforms offering an ad-supported plan but, as users gain ads, they might lose features.
MacRumors‘ Steve Moser dug into the Disney+ code and found that GroupWatch and SharePlay, features that let users remotely watch a movie or show with friends and family, won’t be available on the ad-supported tier.
The new ad-supported plan is expected to cost $7.99 in the US and is rumoured to be launching in December.
Disney+ Basic (ad-supported tier) tidbit: “Groupwatch and Shareplay unavailable for accounts on the ads tier.” pic.twitter.com/KuTeJiCEtn
— Steve Moser (@SteveMoser) October 24, 2022
The upcoming plan represents a significant opportunity for advertisers. With Disney+, advertisers will be able to reach valuable audiences with young children, as well as Disney’s lucrative adult audience – the kind of people who will happily spend a bunch of money on a Mickey Mouse headband.
However, there might be a very straightforward reason for GroupWatch and SharePlay being unavailable on Disney+. If users are watching shows in different countries, the number of ads able to be served will be changeable, as will potential advertising regulations.
For example, if a viewer is in a country that permits four ads per hour but the other viewer’s country only permits two per hour, should the second viewer sit in front of a black screen while the first viewer’s ad finishes?
Netflix, meanwhile, has been more ruthless with its ad-supported tier. The streaming giant is limiting the screen resolution of shows on its new ad-supported tier to just 720p HD. What’s more, users will not be able to download content to view offline and users will only have access to a restricted catalogue of content.
Of course, it may simply be a classic bait-and-switch upsell from Disney+. Either way, Disney did not respond to request for comment from The Verge.
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