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Netflix may get an ad-supported free tier to compete with YouTube globally: Report

The service's subscription plans, despite being fairly affordable, are still high compared to YouTube, which is 100-percent free.

  • Updated: November 16, 2018 3:36 PM IST
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Image credit: Netflix


Unquestionably the most-popular digital content streaming service out there, Netflix has transformed the way people watch movies and TV shows. Now available in 190 countries around the world, Netflix’s vast library includes thousands of movies and TV shows in multiple languages, including many regional ‘Netflix Originals’. All this content can be accessed by opting for one of the four subscription plans that the service offers, and range from $8 to $14 per month.

Now, considering the sheer range of content that Netflix offers, these prices don’t seem too much. However, if we talk about countries like India, where a monthly Netflix subscription costs between Rs 500 and Rs 950 a month, they are not exactly affordable. Then there’s the fact that having a (considerably) fast network connection is a basic requirement to enjoy Netflix’s streaming content.

That said, now consider YouTube. It’s true that the service is mostly about short videos and doesn’t offer long-form paid content like TV shows and movies (as in the case of Netflix), YouTube is still free, 100-percent. This is the primary reason why YouTube continues to be ahead of Netflix globally, at least as far as video streaming is concerned.

So, what’s the solution? Well, if Jeff Green, the CEO of California-based digital advertising agency The Trade Desk is to be believed, Netflix will eventually go YouTube’s way and introduce a free tier, supported by advertising.

They’ve envied YouTube’s international reach for a very long time, where even less than two years ago, 80 percent of subscribers for Netflix were in the US,” Green was quoted as saying by a Recode report.

He further added, “Our median household income’s at $50,000-ish, roughly, a year … compare that to all the places where there’s growth in the world, which is also where advertisers are willing to pay ahead. I don’t think there’s any chance that they can catch up to YouTube, whose geographical distribution is exactly inverted, which is 80 percent comes from outside the U.S., unless they go ad-funded in the same way that YouTube is.”

Watch: How to download Netflix shows

It’ll be interesting to see if Netflix eventually goes for an ad-supported free tier. A recent report said that the service seems to be testing a mobile-only subscription with cheaper plans for some markets. Interestingly though, Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings recently confirmed that the streaming platform has no plans to introduce cheaper subscriptions in India.

  • Published Date: November 16, 2018 3:07 PM IST
  • Updated Date: November 16, 2018 3:36 PM IST