Skip to Content

Report: 20% of Disney+ Signups Were for Ad Tier in First Month, Outperforming Netflix, HBO Max

Jessica Lerner

As economic conditions worsen, services raise their prices, and consumers become more price-conscious, ad-supported subscription tiers are rapidly gaining favor with consumers across the streaming industry. Nearly every platform has launched an ad-supported tier over the past few years, most recently Disney+ in December 2022. Now, new data from subscription-measurement firm Antenna shows the streaming service appears to be having better success than either Netflix or HBO Max in adding new subscribers to its lower-priced option.

In the first month after launch, 20% of new Disney+ signups were for an ad-supported tier, compared to 9% for Netflix and 14% for HBO Max respectively. By the third month, 36% of Disney+’s new customers were opting for the ad tier, compared to Netflix’s 19% and HBO Max’s 21%.

Part of the reason for this growth could be related to the price point. Disney+’s ad-supported tier costs $7.99, which is cheaper than the $9.99 per month for HBO Max with ads. While Netflix’s “Basic With Ads” product costs $6.99 per month, it’s only a dollar cheaper, but has far limited functionality in terms of users, simultaneous streams, and what content is available on the plan.

Additionally, customers can increase their savings by signing up for ad-supported Disney Bundle options that allow them to get access to Disney+ and Hulu with ads for $9.99 and to add ESPN+ to the mix for a total of $12.99 monthly.

Furthermore, while both Disney+ and Netflix have eliminated certain features, such as the removal of downloads for offline viewing, Disney+ Basic includes all Disney+ shows. An estimated 5% to 10% of Netflix’s titles are unavailable on the ad tier because of licensing restrictions.

However, the data from Antenna doesn’t offer the full picture, as Netflix’s ad-supported plan differs slightly from the others because it can only be accessed through the Netflix Basic plan. There isn’t presently an ad-supported version of the standard and premium service tiers, which offer extra benefits like concurrent streams, downloads, and higher video quality. Of note, though, Netflix’s Basic with Ads accounted for 54% of all basic tier signups for Netflix, showing the ad-supported tier is gaining some traction after a slow start.

An interesting twist to the Disney+ ad-supported tier launch was that it came at the same time as a substantial price hike for the ad-free option. Existing customers could either pay an extra $3 per month, pay the same amount but change to the ad-supported plan, or unsubscribe from the service altogether.

Antenna found that 94% of subscribers to the Disney+ Premium plan accepted the price increase, 5% canceled their subscriptions, and less than 1% of current subscribers continued to pay the same amount by switching to the ad-supported plan. This differs from research released by Kantar in December that estimated that 23% of subscribers would opt for the lower-cost version with ads.

This data leaves room for Disney+ to hike prices even further in the future, as it shows that customers are willing to swallow those costs rather than cancel the streaming service or switch to ads. However, these price increases may not be as well accepted with all streaming services, as most find that consumers are more willing to watch ads in exchange for a lower price.

For example, 75% of Peacock subscribers have the ad-supported plan, while 57% of Hulu subscribers have the ad option, compared to HBO Max (20%), Disney+ (3%), and Netflix (1%). This makes sense as Peacock and Hulu have had ad-supported tiers for far longer than those three.

Ad-supported tiers are rarely smashing successes right out of the gate, but Disney+, Netflix, and HBO did see their numbers go up three months out as more and more customers became familiar with the lower-priced offerings. These incremental increases show that the services are heading in the right direction in terms of finding meaningful audience growth. This could even potentially outpace new sign-ups for the ad-free tier if streamers keep hiking rates like there’s no tomorrow.


Disney+ is a video streaming service with over 13,000 series and films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, The Muppets, and more. It is available in 61 countries and 21 languages.

Disney+ has two plans – one with ads and one without ads. Disney+ Basic with Ads costs $7.99 / month. If you don’t want ads, you can choose Disney+ Premium with No Ads which costs $10.99 / month.

The Premium plan also offers an annual option for $109.99 / year ($9.17/mo.).

If you want all of Disney streaming services, they have two options for The Disney Bundle. The Disney Bundle Basic includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ (with Ads) for $7.99 / month. The Disney Bundle Premium (without Ads) for $19.99 / month.

The app supports unlimited downloads (on their Premium Plans), four simultaneous streamers, up to 7 profiles, 4K streaming, and includes hundreds of avatars.

The service includes 25+ new original series, 10+ original movies, 7,500 past episodes, 100 recent movies, and 400 library titles including the entire Disney Vault. You can stream original series like “The Mandalorian,” “Ms. Marvel,” “Loki,” “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” and “Andor.”

You can see the full list of available Disney, Disney Channel, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, Nat Geo shows and movies, or all available Disney+ content by checking out our Disney+ Streaming Movie List.

Sign Up

Get Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for just $12.99 a month ($13 savings).


Let us know your e-mail address to send your $50 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for DIRECTV STREAM.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.

Sling TV Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $25 Uber Eats Gift Card when you sign up for Sling TV.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.

Hulu Live TV Cash Back

Let us know your e-mail address to send your $35 Amazon Gift Card when you sign up for Hulu Live TV.

You will receive it ~2 weeks after you complete your first month of service.