Netflix Opens Doors to Ads After Subscriber Count Takes a Nosedive

Apurva Pathak | May 11, 2022 | 236 views

Netflix

Netflix Takes an Unexpected Route

Popular streaming giant Netflix’s subscriber count plummeted for the first time in a decade. After it announced the loss of 200K subscribers in Q1 of 2022, its stocks dipped more than 35%. In addition, a shareholder recently sued the platform for violating securities law after its subscriber growth reached an all-time low and the stock value crashed, making the picture bleaker.

It’s not surprising that the platform had a change of heart about bringing advertising to its platform. The decision puts the platform in the same category as its competitors, HBO Max, Amazon’s Freevee, and Disney+, who want to offer cheaper, ad-enabled content to consumers. It also addresses the company’s issue of slow revenue growth.

“Those who have followed Netflix know that I’ve been against the complexity of advertising and a big fan of the simplicity of subscription, But as much as I’m a fan of that, I’m a bigger fan of consumer choice.” 

co-CEO Reed Hastings


What Do Advertisers Think?

The advertising community had mixed reactions to the announcement. Long commercials are not an option on streaming platforms like Netflix. The ads run only for a few minutes every hour to retain the viewer experience. Despite this, advertisers are excited to target Netflix’s rich audience of over 200 million.

There is no clarity on who will sell the ads and how the campaigns will be managed. Only time will tell how Netflix’s move will affect its subscribers and the advertising market.

The company will keep ad-free tiers for subscribers who wish to enjoy high-quality ad-free content. It may change its subscription plans to offer low-cost plans with ads and minimize password sharing. There is no set timeline or regions decided for implementing these plans.

The company hopes that this “consumer choice” to choose a cheaper plan will revive its subscriber growth graph.


What Comes Next?

Though Netflix has done the unexpected, it is giving well-established ad-funded broadcasters and streaming platforms a reason to worry. As of now, the potential for a low-cost VOD service equipped with ads is huge for advertisers. Once the plans are introduced, new audience profiles will emerge. Advertisers will want to understand and target them. As an ad platform, Netflix’s performance will only be understood through testing and learning.

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