LONDON, UK — Eleven months after it launched an ad-supported tier in the US, Disney did the same across Canada and Europe.

A mere five weeks after that launch, speaking to me at The Future Of Television Advertising Global conference in London, Deborah Armstrong, SVP, Media Sales & Brand Partnerships, The Walt Disney Company, gave a progress update.

Delivering Value with Disney+

“We launched on November 1,” explains Armstrong. “We introduced price tiering for the Disney+ service for the first time in Europe to provide consumers choice and value. One of those plans is Standard with Advertising.”

That tier costs £4.99 per month in the UK, with ad-free tiers at £7.99 and £10.99.

The launch covered nine markets, adding to Disney’s existing portfolio of linear and digital ad sales. The response, according to Armstrong, has been overwhelming.

“We wanted to go out to market mindfully. I mean, we’re very confident with what we have, but we were trying to take a bit of a humble approach and not oversell at the beginning,” she says.

“We literally launched with hundreds and hundreds of campaigns across the region… we had more demand than we had supply.”

Balancing Programmatic and Traditional Sales

While direct IO currently dominates their ad offerings, Armstrong expects programmatic sales to increase as supply increases. Armstrong points out that Disney+ is not new to programmatic sales. “We’ve been developing with Hulu and other addressable properties, including Disney+ in the US for almost a decade now, really advanced data capabilities,” she says.

In light of Disney’s family-oriented audience, Armstrong sheds light on Disney+ thoughtful approach to ad placement.

“We don’t put any advertising in preschool content,” she says. “And we go one step further to take into account that co-viewing factor.

”We match the appropriate advertising with the appropriate age-rated content.” This ensures not only the safety of the audience but also the contextual relevance of the ads,” she says.

Looking Forward to 2024

As for the future, Armstrong sees 2024 as a year of continued change and transition. However, she remains optimistic about the power of quality TV.

“It’s coming much more again to the forefront that there really isn’t anything like quality TV for delivering great audiences in the right environment,” she says.

With Disney+ only five weeks old in the EMEA, Armstrong looks forward to continuing growth and the introduction of “new ways of being able to buy us”.

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