Ad-supported Netflix might not show adds on some content

Mike Wheatley

Netflix’s cheaper, upcoming ad-supported tier may not serve ads on every bit of content it shows, according to a report by Bloomberg. It’s looking likely that new Netflix original movies and most kids content will be exempt from being littered with advertisements.


The report states that new Netflix original movies will escape adverts at first. However, after an unspecified period of time, it’s likely that ads will be inserted into the mix.

Parents will no doubt appreciate the decision not to insert ads into Netflix’s kids’ content, but unfortunately it seems that this rule will not be applied across the board. Though Netflix’s own kids shows are promised to be ad-free, they could well appear in some third-party children’s content. However, it will likely depend on the producer, Bloomberg said. Some studios may not want adverts to appear on their shows and if so, Netflix would have to adhere to that. However, there’s nothing to stop Netflix from inserting ads prior to, or after, a show is streamed.

Netflix is set to introduce its ad-supported tier early next year. The company is doing so in a bid to stem the flow of lost subscribers, which has dragged on its finances over the last year. Earlier this year, it reported losing subscribers for the first time in over a decade, and has since lost even more, according to its most recent earnings report. By introducing ads, Netflix can offer cheaper subscriptions that may tempt some people to give the service a try, or resubscribe.

However, it has become apparent that not all of Netflix’s content will be available through the ad-supported tier. While all of Netflix’s original movies and programmes will be, there may be some third-party content that’s excluded for licensing reasons. Even so, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said in July that “the vast majority of what people watch” will be available through the cheaper tier.

As well as missing some content, subscribers in the bottom tier may not be able to download content for offline viewing either. While Netflix hasn’t said anything officially about this, a developer recently unearthed new code within the Netflix app that suggests downloads will be blocked for ad-supported users. That makes sense, because if viewers can download everything first, they’ll have less reason to sit and endure the ads that pop up.

Bloomberg said in its latest report that this is the plan for now, but the company could make some changes before the new tier launches. The ad-supported tier could also have differences, feature-wise, depending on the market.