19% Of U.S. Disney+ And 11% Of Netflix Users On Ad-Supported Plans, 85% New

Seven months after Disney+ launched an ad-supported subscription tier in early December 2022, 19% of U.S. subscribers are on that plan, according to a survey of 2,506 adults conducted March 23-27 by HarrisX for Samba TV, which tracks viewership intel across 48 million connected televisions worldwide. 

In addition, 11% of U.S. Netflix subscribers are on its ad-supported Basics with Ads plan, which was launched in early November 2022.

And in perhaps the best news for these big streamers, a large majority of the ad-supported subscribers say they are first-time customers, rather than existing no-ads subscribers downgrading to a cheaper option—meaning strong uptake for the option and minimal cannibalization of the higher-priced no-ads plans.

For both streaming services, 85% of those on the ad-supported plans reported being new subscribers, versus just 15% reporting that they downgraded from existing, no-ads subscriptions. 

From a cannibalization standpoint, these self-reported patterns are considerably more positive than those reported by streaming tracking service Antenna in late June, which found more than one in three new sign-ups to Disney+ and one in five new sign-ups to Netflix going to their respective ad-supported tiers. 



Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters recently reported that about a quarter of new subscribers were signing up for the with-ads plan in countries in which it is available.

Netflix has 75 million subscribers in North America, and Disney+ has about 46 million U.S. subscribers. 

Samba’s data confirm that ad-supported plans represent a path to more subscriber growth for streaming services, and with billions of impressions now available every day, and the ability to deliver incremental reach, ad dollars are “primed to flow into these options,” noted Samba TV CEO and Co-Founder Ashwin Navin. 

The Samba/Harris X survey, which has a sampling margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points, also found 52% of current Disney+ no-ads subscribers saying they would keep that subscription if the price went up, 16% saying they would cancel, 18% saying they would switch to a cheaper tier with ads, and 14% saying they’re unsure.

Although some previous surveys by other researchers found Netflix subscribers less inclined than other streaming service subscribers to say they would switch to an ad-supported tier, in this survey, the results aren’t much different for Netflix than for Disney+. Fifty-five percent of Netflix subscribers say they would keep their no-ads subscription if the price went up, 12% would cancel, 19% would switch to a cheaper tier with ads, and 14% are unsure.

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