An ad-supported version of Netflix is becoming more real by the day, and now comes word that the streaming giant has chosen a partner to help with the effort.
In a blog post, Microsoft announced Wednesday that it’s teaming up with Netflix to help the streamer launch its anticipated ad-supported tier, which was first announced back in April.
Specifically, Microsoft says that it will be Netflix’s “technology and sales” partner, and that advertisements on Netflix will be “exclusively available through the Microsoft platform.”
In his own announcement, Netflix COO Greg Peters said the streamer’s advertising effort is in its “very early days” while promising to deliver “more choice for consumers and a premium, better-than-linear TV brand experience for advertisers.”
There’s still no word on exactly when Netflix’s coming ad-supported tier will launch, although a recent New York Times story pegged the “final three months of the year.”
Netflix first broached the idea of “Netflix with ads” in April following a disastrous earnings report, during which the company admitted it lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of the year. The news sent Netflix’s stock price into a tailspin as investors ran for cover.
Netflix’s decision to pursue an ad-supported tier marks quite a reversal for the once-undisputed champ of streaming video; indeed, as recently as March, a Netflix exec scoffed at the idea of offering an ad-supported version. But Netflix has been challenged in recent years by some enticing and dynamic competitors, particularly Disney+ and HBO Max.
Netflix has also been hurt by password sharing, a widespread practice that the company used to tacitly accept.