Mid-video ads are upsetting Netflix’s content creators
Netflix just released its ad-supported tier plan and it’s already causing a fuss amongst content creators. Insiders say big names like Shonda Rhimes and Mike Flanagan are not pleased with ads in their series. Read on for more!
by Aline Barbosa
The new ad-supported tier plan is already causing trouble within the company.
Shonda Rhimes, the force behind hit series like “Bridgerton” and “Inventing Anna”, is one of the many showrunners who are displeased with Netflix’s decision to add mid-video ads in their content. This is according to insiders familiar with the matter.
Along with Rhimes, Trevor Macy and Mike Flanagan also voiced their concerns to Netflix. According to these insiders, they’ve told the company that mid-video ads interrupt their storytelling. In addition, Netflix allegedly stated that it won’t share revenue from ads with the creators.
While Netflix is not the first video streaming platform to have an ad-supported plan, the company’s entire motto for years was specifically against commercials. And Netflix used its aversion to ads as a marketing tool to land deals with creators.
In 2021, Rhimes signed a deal with the platform for exclusive content creation. However, when she made the deal, Netflix still had a solid policy to not include any ads in its programming. A principle held by Reed Hastings – Netflix’s co-founder and co-CEO.
This week marked the release of Netflix’s lower-priced ad-supported tier plan in several countries. A service which includes mid-video ads in most of their shows and movies. The company made the decision to provide an ad-supported plan after subscriber and revenue growth decreased with the end of the pandemic.
Thoughtfulness behind mid-video ads
Amidst all confusion, insiders say that Netflix execs have told content creators that measures have been thoughtfully taken with mid-video ads. According to them, the company placed their midroll ads at intervals that won’t disrupt the storytelling.
They have also told content creators that there’s no big expectations regarding new sign-ups for the ad-supported tier plan when compared to subscribers who’d rather a service with no mid-video ads.
In October, Netflix’s operating chief – Greg Peters – said that the company is using their internal content tagging teams to find natural breakpoints in shows and series. That way, they can deliver advertising content in the least intrusive way possible.
Regardless, many creators are still not happy with the company’s explanations. Intrepid Pictures is responsible for making horror movies and series exclusively for Netflix. Their content is particularly bad for mid-video ads because it dissolves the building tension.
Intrepid’s hit series “The Haunting of Hill House” consists of 50-minute long episodes, with five long single-shot takes. One episode of the show, the sixth to be more exact, is now interrupted by three mid-video ads that last a minute each in the new ad-supported plan.
According to insiders, the main reason for the exclusive deal between Netflix and Intrepid Pictures back in 2019 was specifically the platform’s lack of ads. Representatives from Intrepid Pictures have yet to comment on the matter.
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