Ads are finally going to infiltrate Netflix later this year if an internal letter to employees reported on by The New York Times is to be believed.
Slated to launch within the final three months of the year, Netflix is hoping that the new, more affordable tier will woo people put off by its recent price hikes, following the news that it lost subscribers — around 200,000, to be precise — for the first time in over a decade. Given that the company predicts a loss of two million more subscribers in the next quarter, it’s easy to see why ads have entered the conversation, despite past resistance.
There are currently three Netflix subscription tiers in the UK, the cheapest of which is the £6.99/month non-HD option that’s limited to watching content on one screen at a time. This is followed by the £10.99 HD offering which bumps things up to two screens, and the £15.99 Ultra HD package which unlocks simultaneous viewing across four screens.
It’s unclear where exactly this new ad-supported tier will slot into, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it undercut the cheapest existing package or replace it entirely. Channel Four’s ad-free All 4+ streaming service, for context, costs £3.99/month, so we could see something along those lines.
This is all, by the way, following Netlifx’s trials in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru, where customers are paying an extra fee to share their accounts with two people outside of their household. There’s currently no word on when or if this extra charge will become permanent or widespread.
With studios pulling their content from Netflix over the years to create their own streaming services, criticism over cancelled shows, and the recent price hikes, it’s certainly a rocky spell for the company that pioneered online streaming.
As for what the upcoming ads will look like, how people will respond to them, and if future Netflix originals will be filmed differently with ad breaks in mind, all remains to be seen.
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