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‘Who wanted this?’: The internet reacts to Netflix launching ads

Updated Dec 20th, 2022 4:59PM EST
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Image: PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

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Is Netflix even Netflix anymore if some shows release episodes weekly instead of all at once, and you can also sign up for a Netflix account that includes ads?

That’s a rhetorical question, of course, but one that many people are nevertheless asking in the wake of the news that the launch of the company’s long-awaited ad tier — to be priced at $6.99, around half of what I’m currently paying for my Netflix account — is finally at hand. You can read more about the immediate highlights of what’s coming in our post yesterday, but this should tell you everything you need to know about what the leading streaming service is doing here, and why:

The investment community is cheering this news big-time, going so far as to forecast a multibillion-dollar revenue windfall for the streamer thanks to the pricey rates that Netflix appears set to start charging advertising clients. Indeed, you can really tell we’re in the Upside Down when a Netflix bear like Wedbush managing director Michael Pachter — who’s long been critical of Netflix’s business model — sees advertising as a kind of salvation. “I think this is going to be wildly popular and wildly successful,” he said in a recent Yahoo Finance interview. “It may take two or three years for advertisers to figure it out. But once they figure it out, I love advertising video on demand.”

Netflix account tier with ads — coming Nov. 3

You know who doesn’t love advertising-supported video on demand?

The ordinary consumers who pay for these subscriptions.

Netflix's Basic with Ads plans launches in November.
Netflix’s Basic with Ads plans launches in November. Image source: Netflix

When is the last time you heard someone lamenting about how there aren’t enough advertising messages in their life that greet them over the course of the day? I know, I know, plenty of people are still willingly paying for other ad-supported streaming subscription packages, or voluntarily remaining on something like Spotify’s free ad-supported tier. I’d argue, though, that at best, those of us who pay for any kind of content like a Netflix account that comes with ads simply tolerate them.

Which feels like, I don’t know, a less-than-ideal business lever to pull — the one you reach for when you’re out of ideas on what new things people actually want. The next level down from that is whatever people will simply accept or tolerate. Still, you’d think Netflix has figured out how to cure cancer with the way Wall Street types have been talking about this news.

Reaction to Netflix account with ads (“Who wanted this?”)

Now, though, we come to it: The reactions from many of the ordinary users who will either pay for this new Netflix account ad tier or refuse to do so.

Suffice it to say, there don’t seem to be a whole lot of consumers out there right now who are clamoring for Netflix ads. I know, a big surprise, right? Perhaps their actual behavior will say otherwise. Either way, it will certainly be fascinating to watch this next chapter of the streaming giant unfold.

More Netflix coverage

: Netflix Top 10: The most-watched shows in the world right now

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.