Netflix's Ad-Supported Tier Will Now Launch In November

For the last 15 years, Netflix has survived on monthly subscriptions and commercial-less programming, a major selling point compared to the ad-plagued hellscape known as cable television, but that time is over. The future is now, old man, because Netflix's planned launch for an ad-supported subscription tier has been moved up to November 2022. The more things change, the more things stay the same. Netflix told investors back in July that it was looking to launch the ad-supported plan sometime "around the early part of 2023," but with the ad-supported tier of Disney+ on the horizon, that launch date has been pushed up to beat the competitor to the punch.

According to sources obtained by Variety, Netflix's ad-supported version is set to go live November 1, 2022 in multiple countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. This launch date puts Netflix ahead of Disney+ by roughly a month, as the major streaming competitor has already announced a December 8, 2022 launch date for the Disney+ Basic plan.

Potential ad buyers told the Wall Street Journal about the anticipated November 1 launch date, and mentioned that its exclusive ad partner, Microsoft, is taking initial bids as early as next week. The anticipated cost is $65 CPM (or cost per thousand views) which is a steep jump from the industry standard of sub-$20 per CPM. Sources told the Wall Street Journal that it's believed the streamer is high-balling in order to treat the bidding like a Dutch auction, where pricing begins at a high dollar amount and is lowered until a bidder accepts the price.

Is this a good idea?

As Variety mentioned, Netflix is allegedly asking for a $10 million minimum commitment from agencies for annual ad spending, and is looking to solidify ad buys by the end of the month to get everything ready for November. The streamer estimates that 500,000 customers will be a part of the ad-supported plan by the end of the year, despite not having decided on a monthly price for the new subscription tier. Upon launch, the ads featured will not be impacted by any third-party attribution and will have limited ability in how viewers are targeted with ads, so don't expect the oddly personalized style of advertising shown on Hulu or social media platforms. At least, not yet.

It's been reported that the ad-supported tier will take up approximately 4 minutes per hour when watching serialized programming, and pre-roll ads for movies. Honestly, it sounds like the ads will be hardly noticeable unless you're binging all fifteen years of "Supernatural" or something. Variety also reports that Netflix will set frequency caps, so viewers won't be plagued with the repetition of the same ad over and over again — something fans of PlutoTV or TubiTV are all too familiar with enduring. 

Commercial haters never fear: the ad-free subscription packages will still be available.