Netflix Puts Spotlight on Massive Content Pipeline in Upfront – Variety

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Netflix may be a new-tech company, but it approached advertisers Wednesday with old-school TV talk: The company aims to make dozens of shows and movies that people like to watch and discuss..

During an upfront presentation at Pier59 Studios, executives from the streaming giant showcased a msssuve pipeline of content that included two Christmas Day games from the NFL, a year of WWE matches and a new movie that features the return of Cameron Diaz, who will come-star with Jamie Foxx in “Back in Action.” The company also called attention to a new series from Mindy Kaling that stars Kate Hudson. Diaz, Foxx, Kaling and Hudson all made appearances in front of a small cadre of media buyers and journalists.

“At a time when the competition is pulling back, we are investing,” said Bela Bajaria, the company’s chief content officer.

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Netflix is following the strategy that appears to have gained traction this year during the industry’s upfront meetings: Show off a waterfall of new premium programming that advertisers can cuddle up alongside. While Paramount+ boasts of a “mountain of content,” Netflix, along with Amazon Prime Video and Disney, showed off an avalanche.

The company also took time to explain how it continues to refine its strategy for the ad-supported tier it introduced last year. Netflix said its ad tier now has 40 million global monthly active users — up from 23 million in January and 5 million a year ago. More than 40% of all sign-ups in the countries where Netflix offers the ad tier now come from the ad-supported plan, according to the company. 

Netflix is taking more control of the technolgy behind its advertising. Where it had once partnered with Microsoft to provide some of the tech infrastructure required to accept and run commercials, Netflix said it was going to work toward working on its own. The company will continue working with Microsoft for some programmatic capabilities, but intends to debut its own technology by the second quarter of next year in the U.S. and arond the world by the end of 2025.

Despite the large numbers thrown about during the presentation, ad buyers suggested Netflix still lacks the heft it needs to generate the massive impressions advertisers need in the U.S. As such, these executives expect Netflix to place more emphasis on bespoke sponsorships and placements within programs, while trying to build up the impressions it will need to get large advertisers to spend more heavily.

Netflix executives put a bright spotlight on the popularity of programs such as “Bridgerton,” and highlighted coming shows with Ted Danson, a new “Happy Gilmore” move from Adam Sandler, and sports documentary programs on athletes like Simone Biles. They also pressed the notion that Netflix consumers are younger than those watching traditional TV, and tend to watch selections on the servide regularly.

“Our members don’t just press play,” said Amy Reinhard, president of advertising. “They press play and they stay.”

Even as it put out a call for new advertising, Netflix signaled it would be careful about how such stuff was deployed. No one wants to ruin the streaming experience for subscribers, so commerical tie-ins need to be authentic and add to the value of a viewing session, said Marian Lee, Netflix’s chief marketing officer. “One rule: Our members come first.”

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