Yesterday Netflix entered the brave new world, for them at least, of advertising, as it launched its Basic with Ads package. Binge watchers of the latest films such as The Good Nurse and the hit series such as Stranger Things and Cobra Kai will now have to put up their programmes being interrupted with three to four minutes of adverts every hour. 

With the cost-of living crisis at the forefront of people’s minds, the cheaper ‘with ads’ package may persuade those finding money tight to keep subscribing to the streaming service. And with inventory nearly sold out it's sure to boost revenue for Netflix. But what do advertisers and the ad industry think about the move? MAD//Insight went out and asked. 

The view from advertisers

Johnny Winn, Head of Campaigns and Marketing, O2 Virgin Mobile

“ It’s clearly a very appealing development for advertisers. Given how Netflix has priced their ads packaging relatively expensively, it will filter out lacklustre, ‘cheap’ content, and hopefully spurn some really creative activity that will invariably breed envy. On the flip side, no one really knows how consumers will react to advertisers suddenly disrupting their Netflix experience, and there could be blowback. I certainly doff my hat to those brands taking the plunge first, and will be closely observing how they go about it and subsequently how it all performs.”

Rachel Kerrone, Marketing and Brand Director, Starling Bank

“Brands will no doubt feel the pull of Netflix and its subscriber base, but as with any new ad platform, I’d make sure it’s right for your brand first, can offer the reach, audience segmentation and data that you need, and then proceed with caution. 

For many Netflix subscribers, this ad supported model will take some getting used to - ad content on the network has to raise the bar. Starling Bank won’t be one of Netflix’s first advertisers, but streaming services have a huge reach, so once we have more insight into audiences and future plans, we’ll be thinking about how our next ad campaign can work on these channels.”

Tony Miller, VP, Growth and Performance Marketing, WW

“Netflix ‘Basic with Ads’ will give the brand an opportunity to reach new audiences and win back lost customers at a lower tiered price. With audiences scrutinising monthly outgoings and cutting back on non essentials, having the option to get your favourite content for less is a good thing. Consumers want choice and giving them the option to decide how they consume their content is a good move. Plus it gives brands another channel to get in front of their audiences.” 

View from the Ad Industry

Al Young, CCO, St Luke's

"When I was young an architectural journal was launched called “Blueprint.” It was partly advertiser funded and, radically, decided every ad it carried needed to be aesthetically approved before inclusion. This decision created the world’s most beautiful trade mag.

Think of scrolling, or flicking, through Vogue or Harpers - the ads heighten the experience. 

Netflix has a chance to make AV ads complement content like this. Ads loaded with drama, intrigue and beautifully created and served according to the entertainment experience sought by the viewer. An ad-filled Netflix could be a treat."

Nathan Wilson, Partnerships Strategy, Gentle Forces 

“Netflix famously said advertising would never appear on its platform. And now, after a post-pandemic beating, it's reluctantly moved into the ad business. Although it doesn't seem too enthusiastic about the prospect, it has the opportunity to disrupt advertising, just as it did linear TV. It could require ads to have a 'Super Bowl' level of quality; ads that monetise the cultural properties they've spent billions to create. It could offer advertisers an end-to-end, integrated service from deep data & insights through to next-level creative & production. Yet, with all the potential, it seems it has chosen to keep things simple - access to Netflix Basic, with 5-minutes of ads per hour, for the slightly reduced price of £6.99. While a boring start, I'm excited to see how it evolves.”