When The Walt Disney Company launches the Disney+ direct-to-consumer streaming service in late 2019, it won’t be advertising-supported. But Disney Advertising Sales is already talking to brands that want to “experience the Disney customer far and away beyond just the traditional advertising,” says sales chief Rita Ferro.
Disney+ will be the third piece of a direct-to-consumer triad when combined with ESPN+, which launched last April, and Disney’s stake in Hulu, the President of Advertising Sales & Sponsorships explains in this interview with Beet.TV.
“On the Disney side, while we are not doing advertising at launch right now, we are doing marketing partnerships around how we can actually bring brands together that we’ve done broadly with the company,” Ferro says.
Disney believes that direct-to-consumer, which requires a new approach to content allocation, which in Disney’s case includes pulling its movies and shows from Netflix next year, gives both consumers and advertisers the best opportunities.
“What you saw in the launch of that product was the quickness of adoption,” Ferro says of ESPN+, which provided access to more mainstream and “unique” sports like boxing. “Five months in we announced we were at a million subscribers and we’ve only grown from there.”
She describes Disney+ as “a broad, general entertainment brand for families” built around proven entities like Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, Disney and National Geographic.
The third leg of the direct-to-consumer stool is Hulu, the unprofitable streaming pioneer that will be 60% owned by Disney at the beginning of 2019 by virtue of its acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox. Hulu is where ABC and Freeform programming resides, with ad-supported “live and on-demand content in season,” says Ferro.
“We’re also working very closely obviously with our product groups and our events groups and our parks and movie promotions teams,” she says of the company’s direct-to-consumer initiatives.