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Disney+ launches cheaper plan with ads — but not on Roku

The new advertising-based tier of Disney+ launches today. And while it’s not exactly the sort of thing that should demand a whole lot of explanation — it’s a little less expensive at $8 a month, but also has ads — there is one important thing that should be noted.

This new ad-based tier isn’t available if you’re on Roku. And that’s kind of a big deal since Roku is the largest streaming platform in the U.S. and the second largest in the rest of the world.

Disney Plus on Roku.

The Disney+ help pages spell it out thusly: “Disney+ Basic is not currently available on Roku devices. This means that viewers are unable to sign up for this plan on Roku devices or stream Disney+ on Roku devices if viewers have this plan or the Disney Bundle Duo Basic or Trio Basic.”

In other words, if it has ads, it’s not currently available on Roku.

There are a couple of options, however. You can switch to one of the more-expensive ad-free plans, or use a different device to watch. While that’s probably not a whole lot of consolation, it’s what you’ve got.

As for why any of this is a thing in the first place? It almost certainly comes down to money. Roku doesn’t allow Disney+ (or any other service) to use its platform from the bottom of its heart. Disney+ selling ads against its streaming service means more money for Disney, and Roku wants its cut. This sort of thing isn’t new, and it’s not the first time we’ve seen services launch or update with Roku users being left out, at least temporarily.

“Today’s launch marks a milestone moment for Disney+ and puts consumer choice at the forefront,” Michael Paull, president of Direct to Consumer for Disney, said in a press release. “With these new ad-supported offerings, we’re able to deliver greater flexibility for consumers to enjoy the full breadth and depth of incredible storytelling from The Walt Disney Company.”

Chances are it’ll all work out once the folks in suits get the math to a point where everyone can be happy with it. It’s just that in the meantime, the customers are caught in the middle.

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