It's been coming for a while but Netflix has now confirmed when it will be implementing its new cheaper ads-based tier – and it's actually being pushed back a little later than several originally thought.
Speaking to shareholders as part of its latest earnings report, Netflix has stated that it will begin rolling out advertising to the platform in "early 2023". It intends to begin with a handful of selected markets before then making it available globally. No details of which markets will get ads first were disclosed.
This development comes alongside the news that Netflix has lost another one million subscribers between April and June, even with Stranger Things 4 setting new records for viewership. It now means Netflix's subscriber base totals 220.67 million, a decrease from 221.64 million at the end of 2021. This also follows the company losing 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022
Netflix hopes that by adding a cheaper alternative it will be able to regain those that have unsubscribed and make back the financial loss. It is also cracking down on password sharing by running a new trial that charges consumers when used in a different household.
"We’ll likely start in a handful of markets where advertising spend is significant. Like most of our new initiatives, our intention is to roll it out, listen and learn, and iterate quickly to improve the offering. So, our advertising business in a few years will likely look quite different than what it looks like on day one," said Netflix in a letter to shareholders.
Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings mentioned the possibility of introducing ads for the first time in April this year. At the time he stated: "Those who have followed Netflix know that I have been against the complexity of advertising, and a big fan of the simplicity of subscription. But as much as I am a fan of that, I am a bigger fan of consumer choice. And allowing consumers who would like to have a lower price – and are advertising-tolerant – get what they want, makes a lot of sense."
A Netflix standard plan costs $15.49 / £10.99 / AU$16.99 per month. The streamer's cheapest basic plan is available at $9.99 / £6.99 / $10.99, however, supports fewer devices and does not come with HD. It's unclear at this time just how much it will cost to watch Netflix with ads.
Netflix is poised to release its most expensive movie ever – The Gray Man starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans – later this week, however, it's not been receiving the best of responses from critics ahead of time.