In Virtual Upfront, Netflix Says It Has Nearly 5 Million Monthly Ad-Tier Users

Streamer unveils new ad offerings in its first upfront week pitch

Netflix first upended upfront week in January with its announcement that it would be presenting in Paramount’s vacated Wednesday evening slot. Then it shook things up again last week by shifting to a virtual presentation and not having talent participate in its event, amid the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike. Now, the streaming giant has gone for the hat trick, making its first-ever upfront week appearance Wednesday afternoon.

During its virtual presentation, the streamer broke out its ad-tier numbers for the first time (nearly 5 million monthly active users globally), highlighted its upcoming slate and—sans talent—showcased its various executives.

Greg Peters, co-CEO, Netflix, started the company’s event by promoting how the platform connects with consumers and delivers programming for everyone.

“To be the one to watch, you need everyone watching. And that’s what sets Netflix apart,” Peters said.

In the presentation, the company went over its accolades, including touting how its viewing across Nielsen’s Top 10 most-watched lists was three times greater than competitors combined in 2022, adding that it’s had the No. 1 original TV show on streaming in the U.S. for 15 out of 16 weeks—and the No. 1 movie for 14 weeks.

Adding up ad-tier numbers

The streamer originally launched its highly-anticipated ad tier last November, and, for the first time on Wednesday, it dove into the details of the ad-supported plan.

According to Netflix, ad tier members have more than doubled since early this year, and the plan has nearly 5 million monthly active users globally. During its most recent earnings call, Netflix said it has 232.5 million subscribers worldwide.

Peters explained that, on average, more than a quarter of Netflix sign-ups now choose the ads plan in countries where it’s available, and nearly 80% of ad-supported members’ viewing happens through a TV.

In terms of demographics, more than 70% of Netflix ads plan members fall in the 18-49 demo, and the global median age of Netflix’s ad-supported members is 34.

The company also included data from EDO, revealing that ad-plan viewers are more than four times as likely to engage with an ad on Netflix than other streaming services and more than four-and-a-half times as likely to engage with an ad on Netflix than linear TV.

“We are building a forever business,” Jeremi Gorman, president, worldwide advertising, said during the presentation, adding that in the first six months the company “worked hard to be brilliant at the basics, focusing on areas advertisers told us matter most–like geo, age and gender targeting; third-party verification and deploying the right brand suitability mechanisms for [advertisers] to make the best decisions for [their] brand.”

While Netflix is “focusing on reaching parity,” it’s “also innovating,” said Gorman. “We treat our ads with the same care we treat our incredible content: serving them locally; seamlessly transitioning between shows and ads with no latency; and implementing industry-leading frequency caps with an ad load of four to five minutes per hour.”

The worldwide advertising president also cited Nielsen numbers, saying the company’s “reach at two or more hours is higher than almost everyone else’s reach at a one-minute threshold.”

Gorman continued, “Two hours compared to one minute. That’s what sets Netflix apart from other streamers. It’s the difference between foundational viewing and simply sampling.”

In addition to numbers, the streamer also revealed new products and measurement solutions for the ad-supported plan.

Peter Naylor, vp, global advertising sales, said the company is adding two new sponsorship options to give brands “the opportunity to be within the top streaming content anywhere.”

According to Naylor, brands will now be able to sponsor the presentation of the streamer’s most popular series at launch, with opportunities available first in the U.S. Advertisers will be able to run sponsorships at the start of an episode, showcasing their brand before an episode begins.

Top 10 opportunities

Additionally, sponsors can align themselves with meaningful collections of content by featuring their campaigns within local holidays and key brand moments, such as sustainability stories.

The streamer also showcased its Top 10 capabilities. According to Netflix, the Top 10 guarantees brand placement within Netflix’s most popular shows and films, as part of its daily Top 10 series by country and the Top 10 film collections on its service.

And for measurement, starting in Q4, brands in the U.S. will be able to use Nielsen DAR (Digital Ad Ratings), which offers deduplicated audience measurement metrics for campaigns running on the Netflix ad-supported plan. This tool will enable advertisers to quantify the reach of their campaign.

The streamer also highlighted its new projects, including Shawn Levy’s All the Light We Cannot See, Griselda with Sofía Vergara and 3 Body Problem, the upcoming series from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

Netflix announced the return of some of its most popular shows, with renewals for Ginny & Georgia for Seasons 3 and 4, as well as Virgin River Season 6. On the reality side, Love is Blind Season 5 will be back in September, and Squid Game: The Challenge, which features 456 real players competing for $4.56 million, will debut in November.

“Now you’ve heard a lot from us today, and I think it all boils down to one thing: Netflix is a little bit different,” Ted Sarandos, co-CEO, said. “In the past–when consumers had very little choice of where to watch – it didn’t matter so much which network a show or film landed on. They were all very similar. Today, we believe that having a title land on Netflix makes all the difference in the world.”

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