TV & Streaming

Netflix counts 40 million on ad tier amid further push into live sports

The streamer will air NFL Christmas Day games and is looking to bring advertisers in on live sporting events.
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Netflix

· 4 min read

Netflix with Ads keeps getting bigger.

The streaming giant’s ad-supported tier has 40 million global monthly active users, up considerably from the 5 million monthly active ad-supported users one year ago, the company announced this week ahead of its second-ever upfront presentation to advertisers in New York. Of all Netflix sign-ups in countries that have an ad-supported plan, more than 40% are for the ad tier, the company said, and nearly two-thirds of ad-supported viewers are watching programming for more than 10 hours every month.

As part of its pitch to advertisers, Netflix, which last reported nearly 270 million total subscribers worldwide in April, touted the continued growth of its ad tier and emphasized its focus on live sports and gaming.

To continue supporting its ad-tier growth, Netflix, which announced a partnership with Microsoft last year on its ad tier, is also building out its ad tools. That now includes a new in-house ad-tech platform, the company announced.

“Bringing our ad tech in-house will allow us to power the ads plan with the same level of excellence that’s made Netflix the leader in streaming technology today,” Amy Reinhard, Netflix’s president of advertising, said during the presentation.

Netflix has also partnered with The Trade Desk, Google, and Magnite to expand programmatic buying beyond Microsoft.

The games begin: Netflix has already started dipping its toes into the waters of live sports, but it’s planning to go deeper this year. The streamer will livestream two NFL games on Christmas Day this year, as well as at least one Christmas Day NFL game in both 2025 and 2026. The streamer already has secured the rights to WWE’s Raw programming set to air next year, and a Jake Paul vs. Mike Tyson fight, which is planned for July, has its first brand partner: energy drink brand Celsius will be the event’s presenting sponsor, the company announced.

Netflix highlighted the ways that brands can get in on live programming, like the upcoming sports events. Those interested in the Paul vs. Tyson fight, for example, can be featured both via placements in the broadcast or via customized branding within the ring.

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Steal the show? NBCUniversal may have the rights to air the Olympic Games, but Netflix is planning some Olympics-related content of its own. In partnership with the International Olympic Committee, Netflix will release three series centered on Olympic athletes, with one following gymnastics legend Simone Biles’s return to the Olympic stage, another centered on men’s basketball at the Olympics, and a third centered on sprinter athletes like Sha’Carri Richardson, Noah Lyles, and Shericka Jackson. Simone Biles: Rising and Sprint will debut in the summer, while the basketball series is scheduled for release in early 2025.

Keeping with the sports theme, the platform also announced two new sports-related comedy series: Golf, a scripted comedy starring and co-created by Will Ferrell and Running Point, a Mindy Kaling-created series starring Kate Hudson as the president of a professional basketball team. Adam Sandler will star in Happy Gilmore 2. And Netflix is renewing the sci-fi series 3 Body Problem for a second season. The first season of 3 Body Problem, which was released on Netflix in March, quickly shot to the top of the platform’s most-watched list.

Play time: Netflix began pushing into mobile gaming in 2021, and it leveled up its offerings when it added Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy last year. The streamer continues to expand into the space, it said Wednesday, and it has more than 90 titles in development, including games based off of popular shows, including previously announced games based off Rebel Moon and Squid Game.

Peas in a pod: Bundling continues to trend among streamers, and Netflix is no exception. Netflix’s ad-supported and ad-free tiers will be offered with Peacock and Apple TV+ in a new package available to Comcast customers, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts announced earlier this week.

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