In a surprise twist just a week ahead of the Disney+ launch, it’s come to light the new streaming service will shows ads for the Starz premium cable channel on its site. The launch of Disney+ is going to be a big one for Disney, with millions expected to subscribe and begin streaming its massive library of TV shows and movies from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and National Geographic. No doubt the appearance of a Starz ad on a Disney+ site is going to be a source of some confusion to more than one of these new subscribers, so here’s the real 411 on what’s going on.
In a new report from The Verge, Disney+ and ESPN+ users will see ads for Starz on the login page of the respective sites. The ads are part of a deal Disney has apparently struck with Starz in an effort for the former company to reclaim their own movie titles, which includes Lucasfilm title Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Included in The Verge’s report is a note that “ads are part of a revised licensing deal with Starz that was made in order to have certain titles available on Disney+ at launch. Customers will see a display ad prompting them to sign up for Starz, but there aren’t any ads within the actual Disney+ or ESPN+ service once they sign in.” It’s also noted this is a one-time promotional offer in an exchange for the reclaimed streaming rights of those Disney movies the company had previously given to Starz, so it’s unlikely the Starz ads will remain on the login page for very long.
As Disney has worked to disentangle itself from other major streaming services and cable networks, I suppose it’s par for the course that this has come up. Starz has seemingly won out on this shrewd deal unlike, say, Netflix, who also held the licensing rights to Disney titles (including Marvel and Lucasfilm flicks). Even in a limited run, Starz stands to benefit from some good publicity in the coming weeks as folks flock to Disney+. Good on ya, Starz. It will be very interesting to see if future streaming services Peacock or HBO Max will run into similar issues in streamlining by reclaiming rights to their shows before launch, too.
Disney+ launches on November 12. Check out the complete list of everything coming to Disney+ here.