An Ad-Supported Netflix Tier Could Exist One Day

I hate commercials and so do you. I think the only people that like them are the actors who book them (congratulations, but I still don't want to watch) and the companies who put them out. (Super Bowl ads are a separate category, but you're watching anyway, so I really don't count those.) We skip them, fast forward over them, or go do something else while they're on.

One of the lovely things about Netflix is that there aren't any commercials. We even got to the point where the streaming service would allow you to turn off autoplay previews of shows. We were making progress, friends! That might change someday for some viewers, as Netflix CFO Spencer Neumann said during an appearance at Morgan Stanley's Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, according to Deadline. Don't freak out quite yet though. There is more to it. 

The future looks icky

To be clear, this is not a thing that's happening right now, but it could in the future. It's hardly unprecedented. Hulu has ad tiers, and Disney+ recently announced that they'll add an ad-supported tier that is cheaper than their regular service.

Neumann said, "Never say never, but it's not in our plans right now." He also said, "I would love to get a show of hands of people who liked that decision by Disney, but I don't think I'll get it. It's not like we have religion against advertising, to be clear." He continued, " ... we lean into consumer experience, consumer choice, and what's great for our creators and storytellers." Neumann reassured the audience, "that's not something that's in our plans right now. We have a great model in the subscription business, it scales globally."

I recognize that I'm complaining in advance about a service I can choose not to have and that might not appear. I do wonder though, if this does happen, what it would mean for shows we already watch and rewatch. Creators often structure a show for a service like Netflix with no ad breaks, which allows for more seamless storytelling. It will change the flow of some of these, or put breaks in where it doesn't make sense for the narrative. 

I suppose it's pointless to project trouble, and a price break will be great for a whole lot of people. I've just had enough ads with the targeted ones that find me wherever I go. I don't want to think about more.