Disney Plus is getting higher prices, ads, and a Netflix-style password crackdown


Disney Plus is following Netflix in altering its pricing structure and introducing a tier that peppers your binges with ads to help you save a few pounds.

New customers have three subscriptions to choose from starting today (Wednesday, November 1). While existing subscribers will have to decide whether they want to stick with their current plan, despite a price rise, or downgrade to a basic option or a cheaper ad-supported option.

Here's what you need to know about Disney Plus, including how much it costs, and what each subscription gets you.

How much is Disney Plus?

Although it has historically offered just one subscription, Disney Plus is now introducing three tiers in total:

  • Standard with ads for £4.99 per month

  • Standard for £7.99 per month or £79.90 annually

  • Premium for £10.99 per month or £109.90 annually.

The main thing current subscribers need to know is that the cost of the traditional subscription is going up, and it will be known as Disney Plus Premium.

Don’t want to pay more? You can choose between two plans, including Standard at the same price as the traditional plan, but with fewer perks, or put up Standard with Ads for less money.

You will need to manually switch on the Disney Plus website, though, as otherwise you’ll be automatically bumped up to the Premium tier.

Disney Plus subscription plans: what's the difference?

As with Netflix, the different Disney Plus plans each come with additional perks or drawbacks based on their price. Forking out more will essentially grant you better-quality streams and the ability to watch on more devices at once.

Here's what you get with each tier:

  • Standard with ads: ad breaks, 1080p full HD video, two concurrent streams, no downloads, 5.1 audio

  • Standard: No ad breaks, 1080p full HD video, two concurrent streams, downloads on up to 10 devices, 5.1 audio

  • Premium: No ad breaks, up to 4K video and HDR, four concurrent streams, downloads on up to 10 devices, up to Dolby Atmos stereo.

If you have a great home cinema setup, you probably want Premium. If you don’t, you may not notice a huge disparity between Disney Plus Premium and Standard. Larger families living under one roof may also be drawn to the extra streams on the most expensive plan.

The option to pay upfront for an annual subscription on the two ad-free tiers can also help you save versus paying monthly, especially if Disney Plus is a must-have in your household.

How Disney Plus with Ads works

Standard with Ads is the new tier, at least for the UK. It has been around in the US since December 2022.

This ad-supported version of Disney Plus costs £4.99 a month, just like Netflix with Ads.

It also more-or-less matches Netflix on the technical side; 1080p is the maximum resolution, you can have two streams at the same time, and downloads are not supported.

You can stream 5.1 surround surround but, just like the Standard tier, there’s no Atmos support. At launch, you can expect to see an average of four minutes of ads per hour, though this may vary based on the title you're watching.

We have also been told “content will not differ between the new subscription plans”. That’s good news, as some movies and TV shows are absent in Netflix’s ad-supported tier.

Will Disney Plus stop password sharing?

The most pressing news for some Disney Plus subscribers, though, will be that Disney intends to enact a password crackdown, just like Netflix did, to quash account sharing.

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced the planned clampdown during an earnings call on Wednesday, August 9. He also stated that Disney Plus was exploring how to address account sharing.

The company recently began putting these measures into practice in Canada. Disney Plus also updated its terms and conditions in the UK in late September to reflect its hardened stance. Disney states that it will monitor how customers use their accounts and limit or terminate access to Disney Plus for those who violate the rules.

Based on the company’s past statements and info on its website, it sounds like it will follow the same path as Netflix by preventing customers from accessing the service outside of their main address.

In its customer support section, Disney states: “You may not share your subscription outside of your household.

“Household means the collection of devices associated with your primary personal residence that are used by the individuals who reside therein.”

Netflix's password-sharing crackdown has been a success. The streamer added six million subscribers to its ranks after taking similar steps in key markets earlier this year, as announced during an earnings call in July.

How popular is Disney Plus?

During Disney’s August earnings call, it was announced Disney Plus subscriber numbers have dropped by 11.7 million, to 146.1 million subscribers globally. However, the bulk of these losses derives from India, where Disney recently lost the rights to broadcast hugely popular Indian Premier League cricket matches.

Elsewhere, Disney CEO Iger was recently criticised for dismissing the writers’ and actors’ strikes in the US, after saying strikers were being “unrealistic” in their aims.

However, he has since softened his approach, saying, “It is my fervent hope that we quickly find solutions to the issues that have kept us apart these past few months”, during the earnings call on Wednesday.