A Netflix exec made a splash yesterday when he didn’t completely rule out an ad-supported tier for the streaming giant, but he didn’t exactly rule it in, either.
At an investor conference on Tuesday, Netflix CFO Spencer Neumann (as reported by Variety) addressed the issue of other streaming rivals launching ad-supported options, with Disney+ being the most recent example.
Neumann made headlines when he didn’t absolutely, positively nix the idea of an ad-supported tier for Netflix. But when you keep reading his quotes, he didn’t sound all that enthusiastic.
“It’s hard for us to kind of ignore that others are doing it,” Neumann said, “but it now doesn’t make sense for us.” Variety notes that Neumann was asked if he’d ever sign up for the upcoming ad-supported Disney+ tier, and his answer–”I don’t think I’ll get it”–was telling.
Disney announced late last week that it would roll out an ad-supported Disney+ subscription plan in late 2022. The company said it would wait to detail how much the new tier would cost.
The standard, ad-free version of Disney+ costs $8 a month, following a $1-a-month price hike that was imposed a year ago.
Last summer, HBO Max bowed its own ad-supported tier for $10 a month, or $5/month more than HBO Max without ads.
Meanwhile, Peacock and Paramount+ each charge $5 a month for their own ad-supported plans (Peacock has a free tier as well).
Launching an ad-supported tier makes a lot of sense for a newer streamer that’s still trying to grow its subscriber base, and that includes practically every big streaming player besides Netflix, which has a whopping 222 million subscribers.
Granted, Netflix’s growth has been slowing, while upstarts like Disney+ are starting to catch up. But Netflix seems content to grab eyeballs through other means, such its recent foray into gaming, rather than dipping a toe in advertisements.
So yes, anything’s possible, but it sure doesn’t sound like there will be an ad-supported Netflix plan in the near future.
“It’s not like we have religion against advertising, to be clear,” said Neumann (again, from Variety’s report). “But that’s not something that’s in our plans right now. We have a really nice scalable subscription model, and again, never say never, but it’s not in our plan.”