All it took was one Joker-style bad day to push Netflix over the edge and embrace ads, with the company not-so-quietly having spent the summer developing a new cheaper subscription tier, and a Wall Street Journal report on the caliber of advertisers that Netflix is looking to court has some interesting details about what that might mean for us—or at least those of us willing to save a few bucks each month watching Stranger Things with commercials. For one thing, Netflix is reportedly charging a CPM (cost per mille) of “roughly $65,” which means advertisers would be paying that much for every 1,000 people reached.
That’s apparently “substantially higher” than other streaming services that do ads, but it doesn’t sound like it’s that high just to squeeze more money out of advertisers. That’s because Netflix also wants to impose a cap on how much any one brand can spend on Netflix ads, limiting them to $20 million so “no brand advertises too much on the service and people end up seeing the same ad too often.” So if Netflix wants a lot of money but is only willing to take so much of it, that means the company seems to specifically want advertisers with money to burn but who aren’t so desperate that they’re willing to throw a billion dollars at ads, which might make for (relatively) better ads that aren’t running constantly on every show and movie.
The WSJ story also mentions that Netflix plans to start with “15 and 30-second ads that would appear before and during some programs” and that it intends to “keep the ad load to four minutes of ads for every hour of programming.” That’s apparently less than other streaming services and “much less” than regular TV, which WSJ says is “usually between 18 minutes and 23 minutes an hour” (that seems extremely high for anything outside of professional sports).
Rather than directing ads to specific people who watch specific shows, Netflix is apparently planning to let advertisers target different groups, like people watching from certain countries or watching certain genres. In theory, and assuming you can ignore the part of your brain that says all ads are annoying and intrusive, this could all make for a less grating ad-viewing experience. Either way, whatever they do will be better than what some advertisers had apparently pushed for, with the WSJ story saying that some companies wanted to see sponsored content with actors from Netflix shows talking about how much they love Tide or whatever.
“Hi, I’m Morpheus, the Dream Lord. You know me from my hit Netflix series The Sandman. I’m here to talk to you today about the brand new 2022 Honda CR-V.”
On second thought, that sounds rad. Netflix should do that.