Disney+’s Ad Tier Comes with Hulu’s Ad Targeting Options. Expanding targeting capabilities like never before.

Published: January 24, 2023

min read

Disney announced it will begin rolling out some of Hulu’s ad targeting capabilities to Disney+ by April.

Last December, Disney launched the Disney+ ad-supported tier. It came with a fairly basic set of advertising features.

Disney Advertising president Rita Ferro said in an interview ahead of the company's annual Tech & Data Showcase event for advertisers that Hulu's "full suite of ad products and services" will become available by July across Disney's streaming portfolio.

The ad targeting capabilities from Hulu will be adapted to Disney+ and include some of the basics like age, gender, and some geo-targeting. The expanded full targeting suite will include the 2,000 audience segments available through the Disney Select first-party data platform.

The Disney Ad Server is the heart of our platform. In the United States, Disney's ad server [DAS] already powers 100% of Hulu's and Disney+'s ad platforms. DAS will power all of our addressable platforms over the next 12 months.

Aaron LaBerge

CTO of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

The Disney Ad Server is supplemented by the Yield Optimized Delivery Allocation product from Disney. It balances direct-sold vs. programmatic vs. self-serve ad buys and the Disney Real-Time Ad Exchange, which sells Disney's ad inventory programmatically.

The number of Disney+ ad-supported subscribers that the company has so far is not kept public.

When asked if the company has experienced any under-delivery issues similar to Netflix's with its similarly nascent ad-supported tier, Rita Ferro said no.

Remixing is nothing new to us. This practise all stems from our commitment to providing a high-quality viewer-first experience. The beauty of our 100+ advertisers is that we have a variety, volume, and versatility of client categories and creative, which sets the stage for a better viewing experience and thus helps us maintain our low frequency caps.

Disney spokesperson

All of this will almost certainly be reflected in this year's annual TV advertising upfront marketplace. During CES, Disney held more than 120 meetings with advertisers, agencies, and technology vendors as part of its initial planning process.

How can brands take advantage of the new Disney+ ad tier targeting capabilities?

The streaming TV business is growing expeditiously as more and more consumers switch from linear to streaming media. It pushes marketers to include streaming TV advertising in their marketing mix.

According to a report from TVREV, ad spend on streaming will surpass that on linear (i.e., cable and broadcast) by 2025-and by 2027, streaming will account for 68% of ad spend on television.

With Disney’s new plans to extend Hulu’s ad targeting options to Disney+’s ad tier, marketers will probably have a good chance to reach more of their target audiences. It goes without saying that, in the earlier version of Disney+’s ad-supported tier, advertisers couldn’t target ads to specific audiences like they could on Hulu. Reaching the right audiences is the key to the success of any marketing campaign. That being the case, Disney’s new move is indeed favourable for marketers.

As it owns proprietary technology for digital ads, Disney has direct control over the ad-decisioning mechanics. It does not have to rely on any third-party vendor, as its streaming rivals like Netflix do. Also, the whole streaming ecosystem at Disney works holistically. Hence, if Disney doesn’t have enough ad slots, they can easily redirect them to any other inventory sources. So, possibly, Disney+ can open up potential pathways for marketers in the future, no matter what.

For more than a decade, Disney has been working on its Audience Graph of first-party data. It provides ample access to more than 1,800 segments with visibility into 100,000 audience attributes.

It is highly advantageous for marketers, as they can work uninterruptedly on ad campaigns. Without having to worry about any privacy concerns. Besides, with its unified ad platform, Disney will help advertisers find their audiences across its ad inventory supply pool easily.

Disney, on the other hand, is adamant that its ad-supported streaming does not jeopardise viewers' viewing experiences. To that end, Disney keeps the door open for a variety of client categories with creative versatility for delivering a high-quality viewer experience.

In essence, we expect the new Disney+’s ad-supported tier will provide granular targeting capabilities to brands. To attract their target audiences, all while respecting their privacy.


Grace Wang

Grace is an advertising professional who keeps abreast of the latest and greatest in the marketing and advertising space. She is a traditionalist in lifestyle and modernist in her profession. Outside of marketing and advertising, she helps younger generation try and adapt traditional lifestyle for a healthy living.


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