Netflix earnings: Streaming app ready to sell ads
Netflix’s flirtation with advertising could come as a bit of a shock to the advertising world, since the popular streamer has been so reluctant to open its audience to brands, regardless of how much marketers have coveted that viewership. Netflix is one of the founders of the subscription streaming video-on-demand model.
Netflix made its mark with hit, ad-free shows like “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” and “Stranger Things.” Netflix is still making hit shows such as “Inventing Anna,” the story about the fake heiress Anna Delvey, and movies like Ryan Reynolds’ “The Adam Project.” Still, Netflix avoided advertising while the rest of the market has been plowing into ad-supported video on demand. Amazon, Disney, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, Roku, YouTube and more have been developing advertising platforms. At the same time, traditional TV has been eroding in prestige among viewers.
“It’s significant,” said Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence at GroupM, of Netflix’s advertising turnabout. It’s unclear if ads would be a hit on Neftlix, though, or how many subscribers would sign up for a cheaper ad-supported model. But ads in Netflix shows are likely to generate immediate interest among brands. “As the company rolls out an ad-supported tier, it’s unlikely that more than a small share of Netflix subscribers would sign up,” Wieser said, “which would limit the reach of any campaign. But it would still be very much in demand among brands.”
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Netflix has always been coy about whether it would ever include ads, meanwhile many streaming TV analysts have speculated the company would have to succumb to the allure of ad revenue. Meanwhile, brands have sometimes gotten major exposure for prominently appearing in shows, like Eggo waffles in “Stranger Things.”
Hastings discussed why advertising could be a simple avenue for Netflix to explore. “We can be a straight publisher and have other people do all of the fancy ad matching, and integrate all the data about people,” Hastings said. “So we can stay out of that and really be focused on our members, creating you know that great experience, and then you know again getting monetized in a first class way by a range of companies that offer that service.”
Netflix has seen its stock price drop more than 40% this year, according to Blomberg News. Netflix has 221.6 million subscribers but saw a drop of 200,000 in the first quarter, and it forecast 2 million more losses in the second quarter. On top of more competition from the likes of Disney+ and Amazon, Netflix also had trouble producing content during the COVID pandemic. Netflix also blamed password sharing for some of its inability to generate the most revenue from its audience. The company said it would try to encourage subscribers to stop sharing log-ins or to pay more for subscriptions.
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