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Netflix Is About To Make Some Big Changes To Its Subscriptions

In the last decade, Netflix has gone from strength to strength — starting out as a rental service, then transforming into a streaming giant, before fleshing out to becoming a massive studio in its own right. There's no surprise that it's the go-to service for audiences worldwide when it has so much varied content to offer — and it's also proven to be a genuine powerhouse when it comes to awards season. Jane Campion's "The Power of the Dog" — which arrived on Netflix in December 2021 — even nabbed a Best Picture nomination at the 2022 Oscars, only losing out to Sian Heder's "CODA."

Netflix has clearly become a place for a variety of filmmakers and franchises, whether the streamer is bringing the world of "The Witcher" to life in a series led by Henry Cavill, throwing back to eighties sci-fi and horror in "Stranger Things," digging into Regency-era romance in "Bridgerton," or even tapping into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with shows like "Daredevil," "Luke Cage," and "Jessica Jones" (though the Marvel shows have since migrated to Disney+). This is all to say that Netflix is an entertainment powerhouse, and it knows it. 

However, recent news has revealed that there are some big changes coming to subscriptions in the future that will change the way many audiences use the platform.

Netflix is planning to introduce advertising

As revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix is exploring the option to introduce a new, cheaper subscription plan that comes with advertising on the streaming service. It's a good compromise to potentially pull in new audiences who don't want to pay full price — however, there is an inherent risk here, as well, because part of Netflix's draw for many users is the fact that it doesn't have commercials interrupting its shows and movies. 

When speaking on an earnings call, Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings explained why the streaming service is looking into the idea — saying that it makes sense from a consumer point of view. "Those who have followed Netflix know that I have been against the complexity of advertising, and a big fan of the simplicity of subscription. But as much as I am a fan of that, I am a bigger fan of consumer choice. And allowing consumers who would like to have a lower price, and are advertising-tolerant, get what they want, makes a lot of sense."

Hastings also pointed out that this isn't a radical new idea, since Hulu and Disney+ also use advertising on their platforms, but it would integrate adverts which would be beneficial to Netflix subscribers. This surprising move is probably going to be an incentive to draw in new customers, as THR also reported that Netflix's subscriber count has dropped to 221.64 million — failing to meet the streamer's own expectations of gaining an additional 2.5 million users. So maybe this new approach of "pay less if you don't mind commercials" will help solve that problem.