Disney+ and ESPN+ to Run Starz Ads as Part of Agreement to Regain Streaming Rights of Disney Films

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According to The Verge, Disney+ and ESPN+ will run ads for the premium cable channel as part of an agreement to regain streaming rights for Disney films. Disney previously licensed out films to be streamed by Starz, like Star Wars: The Force Awakens which as we have shared, will be available on Disney+.

Here’s what The Verge has learned:

A display ad will appear on the login page for Disney+ and ESPN+, based on photos seen by The Verge. The ad will appear on Disney+’s Android app and in browsers, the person said.

A Disney spokesperson confirmed 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.

Disney+ was previously advertised as 100% ad-free, with Kevin Mayer, head of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer division, saying “Disney+ will be a wholly subscription-supported service.”

This deal with Starz is part of a problem Disney will face in the coming years as they look to regain streaming rights to tv shows and movies they licensed out for years.