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Netflix is putting ads to its platform – here’s what it means for your next night in

Prepare for mid-’Bridgerton’ commercial breaks

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen

It’s no secret that 2022 has been a tricky year for Netflix. Subscribers have dropped and the company’s share price with them. 

One of the streamers’ plans to turn things around has just been confirmed: Netflix will launch a new tier to its platform – with ads on it.

‘We’re adding an ad tier for folks who say, “Hey, I want a lower price and I’ll watch ads,”’ co-CEO Ted Sarandos told the Cannes Lions advertising conference. 

‘We're adding an ad-tier,’ he said, ‘we’re not adding ads to Netflix as you know it today.’

So what will it mean for you, the Netflix subscriber? Not a lot, on the surface, although it will offer the choice of paying less to watch your favourite series and movies with advertisements.

Many streaming subscribers will already be used to the model – HBO Max already serve ads to users, and Hulu/Disney+ is launching them soon – so even if this represents a shift away from Netflix’s original commercial-free ethos, it’s an increasingly common model. 

There’s no word on what Netflix’s ad-served tier will involve, but HBO Max's equivalent tier in the US charges a month sub of $9.99 compared with the standard $14.99. 

Disney+ is launching its ad-based subscription tier later this year, and it’s guaranteeing no more than four minutes of ads per hour of content – and a promise not to bombard young’uns with commercials on the kid-friendly profiles. Which is good, because there’s nothing more annoying than when your six-year-old suddenly wants to buy an Audi.

It’s safe to expect Netflix to take a similar approach, so you won’t be lumbered with mid-Squid Game ad breaks if you’d rather just stick to your current subscription.

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