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Is Netflix adding adverts in the UK? Everything we know

Is the streaming platform going to launch a new, ad-supported tier?

Chris Hemsworth as Abnesti in Spiderhead
Netflix
Published: Monday, 27th June 2022 at 5:40 pm
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Despite stiff competition from streaming services such as Disney Plus, HBO Max and Apple TV Plus, Netflix is still the number one streaming service on the market.

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The streamer has always managed to maintain its position amid the competitive streaming landscape without showing ads during or before its TV shows or movies, relying instead on increasing the subscription cost to manage the platform’s growth.

However, with slowing growth and increased competition, it looks like that could all be about to change.

Read on for everything you need to know about Netflix's plan to turn to advertising to help fund a lower-priced subscription tier and lure subscribers back.

Is Netflix UK adding adverts to the platform?

An Android smartphone with the Netflix logo visible on screen

Yes, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos confirmed last Thursday (23rd June) that the streaming platform would be launching a new, ad-supported tier during an interview in Cannes.

"We’ve left a big customer segment off the table, which is people who say, ‘Hey, Netflix is too expensive for me and I don’t mind advertising,’” he said.

"We’re adding an ad tier for folks who say, ‘Hey, I want a lower price and I’ll watch ads.'"

He pointed out that although the ads are definitely coming, they will only be shown in that particular tier and regular subscribers will not see them in "Netflix as you know it today".

When will Netflix UK start showing adverts?

The Umbrella Academy. Justin H. Min as Ben Hargreeves in episode 303 of The Umbrella Academy. Cr. Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix © 2022
Justin H. Min as Ben Hargreeves in The Umbrella Academy season 3

The New York Times previously reported that Netflix employees were told that ads would be introduced by the end of 2022.

This is an earlier timeline than when co-founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings first brought up the concept back in April, suggesting that it could be at least a year or two before it materialised.

However, considering that Netflix’s share price has been heading downwards, an accelerated timeline does make sense.

Why is Netflix adding adverts?

Kit Connor and Joe Locke in Heartstopper
Kit Connor and Joe Locke in Heartstopper Netflix

The plan to launch a new, ad-supported tier is presumably one of the streamer’s responses to tackle its shrinking subscriber base and declining revenues.

Back in April 2022, following reports of a shrinking user base, the company’s share price heavily plummeted.

And last week, Netflix announced it had laid off 300 employees, around 4% of its overall staff, in a second round of job cuts.

"Today we sadly let go of around 300 employees. While we continue to invest significantly in the business, we made these adjustments so that our costs are growing in line with our slower revenue growth," said a Netflix spokesperson on 23rd June.

"We are so grateful for everything they have done for Netflix and are working hard to support them through this difficult transition," the company said.

Netflix said that it lost 200,000 subscribers in its first quarter, falling well short of its predictions that it would add 2.5 million subscribers.

In addition, its decision in March to suspend service in Russia after it invaded Ukraine resulted in the loss of 700,000 members.

How much will the Netflix ad-supported tier cost?

Sadly, the price of the ad-supported tier is unknown at this point.

But of course, the whole point of an ad-supported plan is to be able to offer subscribers a cheaper price.

Netflix raised its prices in March 2022. Below are the current Netflix UK subscription costs.

  • £6.99 per month The cheapest membership allows subscribers to watch on one device at a time in standard definition.
  • £10.99 per month Standard subscription - Viewers can watch in HD and on two devices at a time.
  • £15.99 per month Premium subscription - Viewers can watch in Ultra HD where available, on four devices at a time.

Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide. Want to see what's on the other streaming sites? Take a look at our best Disney+ shows and best Disney+ movies lists, or take a look at all your options in our best streaming services guide.

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