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This week’s news from Netflix was bad. But it was also good, thanks to Strange things.
First, the bad news: Netflix lost 970,000 subscribers last quarter. If almost a million users seems like a lot, that’s because it is. But it’s also not the gore the streamer was hoping for. This is the good news. The company thought it could lose close to 2 million, however Strange things, in part, prevented many people from jumping ship. There is a good chance that they will eventually leave; the question is where.
An amazing show or blockbuster movie can keep people going for a while, but as new stellar streamers like HBO Max and Disney+ enter the scene they become tempting alternatives. There’s also good old-fashioned linear TV, but according to Reed Hastings, in a decade, that won’t even be around to give Netflix much trouble. “It’s definitely the end of linear TV for the next five to 10 years,” he said during Netflix’s second-quarter earnings call this week.
What’s suspicious about all of this is that Hastings is right: Linear TV has long lost viewer interest. But now Netflix is too. And while other streamers may see the benefits of this, those streamers also feel the pressure of other forms of screen time. Viewers are already overwhelmed by the amount of options when it comes to streaming services – how long until they give up and just stick to the TikToks, Instagrams and other sources they’re already watching while something is playing in the background?
Obviously, this is not the end of streaming. People will always want to watch movies and TV shows. But what Netflix’s numbers show this week is that a reckoning is taking place, if we’re not already in the middle of it. Streaming has been a boon for the services and studios that put content on it, but viewers are drying up. I Strange things he can’t run for 20 seasons.
That brings us to Netflix’s other announcement this week, which is looking to launch an ad-supported version of the service in 2023. It’s been rumored for a while, and just last week, word got out that the streamer would be partnering with Microsoft. in your subscription subsidized by advertising. The company did not disclose what the ad-supported tier would cost, though it will likely be cheaper than the standard $15.49 per month subscription. In its second-quarter shareholder letter, Netflix said the company is “excited about the opportunity given the combination of our highly engaged audience and high-quality content, which we believe will attract premium CPMs.” [cost per thousand impressions] from brand advertisers.” Others, like Hulu, already do. It seems like a good alternative for viewers — it’s a lot like TV.