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Newsflash: Very few people want to put up with Netflix ads

The new Netflix Basic with Ads tier was responsible for just 9% of new sign-ups in the first month of availability in the US.

The data from subscription analytics company Antenna (via the Wall Street Journal) suggests people weren’t exactly champing at the bit to join Netflix for the cheaper tier, when it arrived in November. Just 0.2% of total US Netflix subscribers are on the $6.99 ad-supported plan, according to the report.

“The new plan thus far is not moving the needle” said Jonathan Carson, co-founder and CEO of Antenna. “Is this going to drive new incremental growth? It’s super early.”

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The data compares quite negatively to the same stat for HBO Max, which Antenna says attracted 15% of new sign-ups to the ad-supported tier during the first month.

There was more interesting data on existing/previous members who’d signed up for Netflix Basic with ads, 57% rejoined after previously subscribing to the Standard tier.

The remaining 43% had actually downgraded from one of the more expensive tiers. The latter of those stats is quite illuminating as it shows some users were willing to deal with an inferior experience in order to save a few bucks on their monthly Netflix bill.

Netflix isn’t worrying too much about it anyway, according to a statement on the story. “It’s still very early days for our ad-supported tier and we’re pleased with its launch and engagement, as well as the eagerness of advertisers to partner with Netflix,” the spokesperson said.

The ad-funded tier arrived as an attempt to arrest the slide in subscribers following the pandemic highs, which were probably never that sustainable. However, the drop off had a hugely negative effect on the company’s stock price and prompted the company to look for outside of the box solutions geared towards maintaining subscribers and bringing in more revenue.

The streaming pioneer currently has 223 million subscribers around the world.

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