Six months after its launch, the streaming giant’s controversial ad-supported tier is looking promising.
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Netflix revealed that the platform’s ad-supported tier has attracted almost 5 million global monthly active users six months after it first launched. The streaming giant disclosed the figures during its 2023 Upfront presentation on Wednesday, adding that the number of ad tier subscribers has “more than doubled” since early this year, with the median age of users being 34.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters said during the presentation that over 25 percent of new signups select the ad-supported tier in countries where it’s available. Peters also claimed that viewer engagement on ad-supported tiers mirrors engagement levels seen across ad-free Netflix accounts.
“The signals are promising: engagement on our ads plan is similar to our comparable non-ads plans,” said Peters during the presentation. “That’s critical because it all starts and ends with consumers. It’s why, despite all the competition out there, Netflix is the most popular streaming service today.”
Famously skittish about sharing viewer data with anyone, Netflix is now drawing attention to its viewership numbers as it seeks to grow its new advertising business. Earlier this year, the company announced it was expanding its relationship with Nielsen, a research firm that measures television and streaming viewership, to better understand its audience behavior. “We treat our ads with the same care we treat our incredible content,” said Jeremi Gorman, Netflix’s president of worldwide advertising. “Serving them locally, seamlessly transitioning between shows and ads with no latency, and implementing industry-leading frequency caps with an ad load of four to five minutes per hour.”
Warner Bros. Discovery made similar claims about its Max streaming service during the company’s own Upfront event on Wednesday. “Max Ad-Lite subscribers get all the same content as ad-free subscribers,” said Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav. “See only three or four minutes of ads per hour and pay just $9.99 a month.”
We should note that monthly active users don’t equate to actual subscriber numbers, and Netflix has remained tight-lipped about how many subscribers the ad tier actually has. The figure was last estimated to be around 1 million back in March following what was believed to be a slow start to the service. Those figures may have improved since Netflix expanded its basic $6.99 per month ad-supported plan in April, though it’ll be interesting to see how many monthly active users Netflix reports after it finally implements its password-sharing crackdown later this year.