Opinion: Netflix needs an ad-supported plan

I know what you’re thinking, Netflix with ads? No way!

If you’re like me, one of the main reasons you subscribe to Netflix, besides the brilliant originals, is the fact that there are no ads.

Netflix is a company, and it is beholden to the stockholders and investors, both of which expect to see continued growth. The problem is, continuous growth is hard to maintain. That’s why there are several reasons Netflix should have an ad-supported plan, and it probably will in the future.

Competition

For years, Netflix has remained largely unchallenged, save for the recent surging in Hulu and Amazon Prime. Thus far no one has been able to match Netflix in high-quality original programming and sheer number of subscribers.

Things are about to change though, several other streaming networks are currently in the process of launching, including Disney+, NBCUniversal, HBO Max, and Apple TV+.

Once these streaming services are competing for your dollar, you’re going to have to ask yourself some important questions. Which has the best price? Which offers the best value? Which has the content that I want to watch most? In some cases, Netflix could see itself losing subscribers as they opt for other services.

Exclusive content

Along with competition comes exclusive content. NBCUniversal has already announced that The Office, perhaps the most popular property on Netflix, will leave the service in 2021 to join its NBCUniversal’s service as an exclusive title.

HBO Max is also expected to pull Friends, the second most streamed show from Netflix by the end of 2019. Then, of course, we can’t forget Disney, which will ultimately pull all of its content (Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel) content from the service.

Once all the studios begin splitting up and dividing content to try to carve out their own piece of the streaming pie, content will be king. Netflix stands to lose a lot of valuable programming.

Pricing

It’s no secret that Netflix continues to go up in price, and it feels to be doing so quicker than ever. How long will it be able to justify further price increases after it begins to hemorrhage content?

We all love Netflix originals like Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, and Black Mirror. But, once we have to spend money on competing services for exclusive content, will there be enough in our budgets to keep a Netflix subscription active?

Ad-supported plans are popular

We all hate ads, but facts show, people are willing to suffer through them for content. Whether it be internet radio, websites, or streaming services such as Hulu, we willingly trade off advertisement for media.

According to Hulu, 70% of its 82 million subscribers pay for the ad-supported plan. That’s nearly 60 million Hulu subscribers opting for the cheaper ad-based option.

An overwhelming majority of it users would rather pay a little less and suffer through ad-breaks, instead of splurging a few extra bucks to remove them.

Ads are the future

If Netflix hopes to compete against increasing number of streaming services, and doesn’t want to lose market share, something has to give.

Most likely the only way it will be able to continue making great content, and keep its subscriber count up, is by offering a more affordable tier that includes ads.

The internet will no doubt throw a fit when it eventually happens. But no worries, Netflix will have an ad-free plan for all of them.

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