Netflix is moving closer to offering tiers where subscribers can pay lower prices in exchange for sitting through commercial blocks, just like on real TV. The streaming service announced a partnership with Microsoft on Wednesday to launch its new ad-based subscription plan.
These next steps come after Netflix, which has been distinctly commercial-free since its inception, revealed plans for a cheaper subscription option that would feature ads back in April. Microsoft joining Netflix as their global advertising technology and sales partner moves the streaming service towards this “long term goal,” as Greg Peters, Netflix’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Officer, said in Wednesday’s statement.
On the marketer’s side, Microsoft’s President of Web Experiences, Mikhail Parakhin, explained that advertisers will gain access to Netflix’s audience and television catalog “exclusively available through the Microsoft platform,” in that company’s statement Wednesday. Parakhin also noted that Microsoft is committed to protecting customers’ information.
As both companies emphasize the importance of consumer choice, the initial move toward bringing advertisers to Netflix came after a recent loss of 200,000 customers in a quarter, the largest loss Netflix experienced in a decade. That crash was followed by the streamer laying off 300 staffers last month.
Netflix’s decision to offer its fare littered with commercials was also a source of mirth for the company’s more pedestrian competitors, which roasted mercilessly the once-elite outfit at May’s TV Upfronts.
Although we’re as anxious as Netflix and Microsoft to see how many customers will think the ads are a fair trade-off for lower subscription rates, Netflix did not announce details regarding when the new option will be available, or how much it will cost.