Shares of Netflix jumped more than 10% Thursday on news that the streamer had signed up almost 5 million customers for its ad-supported plan within six months of launch.
At Netflix’s first-ever upfronts event Wednesday — held virtually — the company announced that it had signed up nearly 5 million global monthly active users following its initial introduction in early November 2022. About 80% of viewing by subscribers on the ad plan is on a TV, and the median viewer age of 34, according to the company. In addition, Netflix said more than 25% of new customer signups are now choosing the ad plan in the 12 countries where it has been rolled out, including the U.S.
Until now, Netflix hasn’t provided details on the traction of its baby steps into the advertising biz, and the 5 million figure clearly spurred enthusiasm among investors. “We are just getting started,” Peter Naylor, VP of global advertising sales at Netflix, said at Wednesday’s virtual upfront.
Netflix Basic With Ads launched in the U.S. on Nov. 3 at $6.99 per month (30% less than the the regular Basic plan without ads, at $9.99 per month). The ad-supported package is available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.
In a broadcast-style slate announcement, Netflix detailed TV shows and movies launching this fall, including the sixth and final season of “The Crown,” Mike Flanagan’s “Fall of the House of Usher,” “Squid Game: The Challenge” and Season 5 of hit reality series “Love Is Blind.” It also announced the renewal of “Virgin River” for Season 6 and Seasons 3-4 of “Ginny & Georgia” — with no mention of the ongoing WGA writers strike during the presentation, which was shifted from an in-person event in New York to a streaming-only format because of the strike.
During its upfront, Netflix also cited Nielsen stats underscoring the breadth of its content slate. The streamer has had the No. 1 streaming show for 15 out of 16 weeks in 2023 to date, and has held the No. 1 movie for 14 weeks, according to the measurement firm.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos discussed a novel ad format that would be akin to “a 30-minute commercial” that “plays out over several days” and follows subscribers as they watch different shows on the service. “This isn’t going to happen overnight, and maybe not even next year,” he said at the upfront. “It’s just one idea.”