Netflix said Tuesday that the upcoming ad-supported tier of its streaming service will start out in a “handful” of markets and evolve over the next few years. It’s part of a bid to stop or stem the global decline in Netflix subscribers over the past six months – including 970,000 canceled subscriptions in Q2 2022.
But how many Netflix account holders nationwide would be willing to interrupt the latest episode of Stranger Things with a toothpaste commercial in order to save a few dollars each month?
It turns out that it’s quite a few. In a mid-July CivicScience survey of more than 1,800 Netflix account holders, nearly one-third (32%) said they’d be likely to switch to a lower-priced or free version of Netflix that included ads. However, that figure is down slightly from the 35% who said the same as recently as April.
Some good news for Netflix: In July, one-quarter of those who currently don’t have a Netflix subscription said they would likely sign up for a free or lower-cost version with ads. Some bad news for Netflix: In April, one-third of non-subscribers had expressed interest. The streaming company is banking on this subscriber growth, projecting 1 million new global subscribers in Q3 2022.
According to the latest CivicScience tracking figures, about 65% of U.S. adults have access to a Netflix account (though account-sharing is a story for another time). If the ad-supported version of the platform is successful in converting a quarter of current non-subscribers, that number could go up substantially in the near future.
Looking at the data a different way, it appears that Netflix users are giving themselves substantial “wiggle room” when it comes to switching from ad-free to ad-supported streaming. Thirty-seven percent of subscribers say they’re “somewhat likely” to switch, compared to just 7% who say they’re “very likely” to switch. It seems to be a wait-and-see situation.
Amid all of the subscriber loss drama, Netflix reportedly made a major investment in the upcoming film The Gray Man. The new action flick was directed by the Russo brothers (of MCU fame) and stars Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, and Ana de Armas. A CivicScience survey showed that more than half of Netflix subscribers are at least “somewhat likely” to watch the movie, with 18% “very likely.”
Whether it’s a potential film franchise stemming from The Gray Man or its upcoming ad-supported tier, Netflix is doing everything it can to turn around its recent subscriber loss. CivicScience will keep an eye on the platform’s subscriber numbers in the months ahead.