It had long been anticipated. So much so that the certainty was enticing. The much-discussed low-cost Netflix subscription plan is now closer than ever. The fine print is that it will be subsidised by advertisements. There is no word on when the ad-supported plan will be available, but it has been confirmed that Microsoft will be the “global advertising technology and sales partner.” But is this a soothing hand on the furrowed brow of Netflix, which has faced and continues to face a slew of challenges in recent months?
Simply put, brands that want to advertise will collaborate with Microsoft to bring these ads to the Netflix platform for subscribers who choose the ad-supported plan. While you can continue to watch Netflix content, as usual, advertisements will occasionally interrupt your viewing experience. Much like how commercial breaks appear on Live TV channels, or even on YouTube (if you haven’t signed up for Premium).
It is unclear whether Netflix will implement total time or frequency-based capping for commercials. This could be determined by the length of the content, which could mean different benchmarks for TV shows and movies.
This could be good timing for Microsoft as well. The company is thought to be working on bringing non-intrusive advertisements to free-to-play Xbox games. However, these will not be traditional ad breaks, but rather smarter deployment within games (such as on billboards or avatars in a game).
“All ads served on Netflix will be available exclusively through the Microsoft platform.” Today’s announcement also supports Microsoft’s approach to privacy, which is based on protecting customers’ information, according to Mikhail Parakhin, President of Web Experiences at Microsoft. At the time of writing, the company had not detailed the privacy aspect, as well as how (and what) user data would be collected.
Will it be based solely on Netflix usage habits, or will Microsoft be able to incorporate data from other apps (particularly those on mobile devices), such as Edge and Bing?