Netflix Ad Tier Hits 40M Monthly Active Users, Nearly Double Its Scale At Start Of 2024 – Deadline

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Netflix‘s 18-month-old advertising tier has nearly doubled in size since the start of 2024, reaching 40 million monthly active users around the world.

The streaming giant revealed the number at its first in-person upfronts presentation in New York. Last year, in a presentation conducted in a virtual format due to the WGA strike, the company said it had 5 million MAUs, and the number grew to 23 million by January.

Netflix President of Advertising Amy Reinhard told the crowd that 40% of all signups now come from the ads plan in countries where it is available. Pricing plays a role in that – at $7 a month, the plan is well below many other services and the company’s own ad-free options. It is also cheaper for an account holder to sign up to a new ad-supported account rather than pay to share their password.

After insisting for years that they would never accept advertising, citing privacy concerns and other factors, Netflix execs hastily announced their reversal on an earnings call in 2022. Microsoft was enlisted as a partner to help ramp up the capability, which reached the market in select territories later that year in a remarkable sprint from first public disclosure to first ad served.

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Despite the bumpy start, advertising has come to be embraced by the company (and many bulls on Wall Street) as a key strategic initiative. As it has developed its ad tier, Netflix has also stocked it with live programming, from comedy to award shows to sports. Earlier Wednesday, Netflix and the NFL announced that the streaming giant would carry two Christmas Day games this season, and at least one holiday contest in two seasons after that.

In addition to the stats, Reinhard announced Netflix will launch an in-house ad tech platform. This will give advertisers new ways to buy, new insights to leverage, and new ways to measure impact. 

“Bringing our ad tech in-house will allow us to power the ads plan with the same level of excellence that’s made Netflix the leader in streaming technology today,” she said.

Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria unveiled a number of new film and TV titles, but she also spent time giving advertisers a sense of audience engagement. More than 70% of Netflix’s ad-supported subscribers watch for more than 10 hours a month, according to Nielsen, a 15% higher level of viewing than the nearest competitor.

“Our audiences are highly engaged — and by engaged I mean that they are choosing to spend their time watching Netflix,” she said. “That’s important because engagement is the key to success in streaming. When people watch our shows and movies, they get more value from Netflix, they stick around longer, and they’re more likely to recommend us to their friends. And this matters to all of you because you want to be where the audiences are, too.”

Peter Naylor, Vice President of Advertising Sales, closed the presentation on a final, upbeat note. “There’s a lot to be excited about over the next year,” he said. “But the story of ads on Netflix this year is pretty simple: It’s about growth and momentum.”

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