Opinion: Cheaper Media Streaming tiers support by advertisement is a good development

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 27, 2022
Music and Video

A new streaming service is launched every other month it seems. With more and more streaming services competing for customers, it is not only the customers that need to adjust to the new landscape, but also the streaming services.

Content is scattered and customers find themselves in the unattractive position to either subscribe to multiple services to access all content at the same time, to hop between services regularly, or to ignore certain content.

Streaming companies have to rely on original content, which is the most expensive type of content. One of the recent streaming trends is the introduction of ad-supported tiers. Netflix and Disney+ plan to launch cheaper subscription plans that are ad-supported later this year. While neither service has revealed specifics, including the actual price of the plans or other limitations, it is clear that Netflix and Disney have high hopes when it comes to these.

The idea is to attract new subscribers who may not mind ads if they save a few bucks every month in return.

Most subscribers would pick an ad-free experience if asked, and those options are not going away. However, there is a growing number of people who find the price of subscription too high. Considering that it may now be necessary to subscribe to multiple services to watch everything of interest, subscription costs can exceed the price of Cable TV subscriptions in many regions.

Seasons of the same TV show may be split across services, and it happens regularly that TV shows and movies move from one service to another.

Streaming companies hope to get people interested in their services by introducing a lower priced tier that is partially financed through advertisement.

Some streaming companies have ad-supported tiers already. Hulu, which is owned by Disney, charges $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year for its ad-support tier. The no-ads subscription is available for $12.99, which is nearly double the price of the ad-supported version.

HBO Max's ad-support subscription is $5 cheaper than the regular subscription, and Peacock charges $4.99 for an ad-support version and $9.99 for an ad-free version.

The cheapest Netflix subscription is available for $9.99 per month in the United States. It is limited to one stream and does not support HD or Ultra HD. An ad-supported plan may match what the basic plan is offering. Netflix could offer it for $6.99 per month or even less than that, but it seems unlikely that it will go much lower than that. Ad-support standard and premium plan options seem unlikely.

Good development, but specifics are needed

Netflix confirmed that all current plans remain as they are; this means that nothing is going to change for existing subscribers. New subscribers and existing subscribers get an additional option: subscribe for less but watch content with ads.

The attractiveness of the option depends largely on the price of the ad-supported plan and the advertisement specifics. How many ads are shown? For how long will these ads run? When are these ads shown? Many subscribers will draw a line in the sand when it comes to ads that interrupt shows or movies. Most may find pre- and post-advertisements acceptable, on the other hand.

Now You: what is your take on ad-support tiers?

Opinion: Cheaper Media Streaming tiers support by advertisement is a good development
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Opinion: Cheaper Media Streaming tiers support by advertisement is a good development
Netflix and Disney plan to launch ad-supported tiers later this year. Read on to find out why this is a good development.
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  1. MarlKax said on June 28, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    Actually no.
    Maybe it is because of culture and how you are not from this side of the planet, but this is a desperate move of greediness.
    First, they just want to make sure people stay zombified with their terrible tv shows and movies with so many agendas and brainwashing on it.

    Second, it is the ultimate move to win but don’t really lose, just like happened with Cable when you paid for it but somehow it was filled with 2 billion ads each day.

    Think about this, people get ‘bits’ in Twitch for watching ads, sometimes those ads will not even give anything to the streamer, people 1 bit is 1 cent, so when people watch ads they are like “I will get something from it, I will whitelist my adblocker”, Amazon is getting so much money from these people ‘donating’ a cent to their streamers while amazon I am sure doesn’t get 2 cents per ad.

    So, imagine the business with ads and how much money they can make because they know people are dumb. It’s like when people ‘subscribe’ to channels, but Amazon gets half of it? like they could send a $5 check (or well, more) if they really cared about helping a friend, but they want to show off dumb perks in the world and since internet is about showing yourself off then what best than not giving full $5 to their friends but to a big evil corporation like Amazon.

    Hirez started to add a way to watch ads and awful rewards in Paladins, I saw some people clicking but I am sure they will get some money for the ads, while people get just crappy rewards.

    I mean… this is why Google became so powerful, with billions and billions in power, giving their ‘free apps’ to the world while they build more and more people’s profiles so their ad networks are so good people go with them. The millions of millions of users Google has, made them the powerful corporation they are today, not the ads, ads was the money.

    So for you it might be good, but you know what is going to happen, because it is not totally free service it is not like spotify or something or at least youtube, you are paying to still get ads, it’s stupid, but I am sure some people will say “I will go pee when ads happen and mute them” like old days with cable.

    And the quality of movies is not even good, I think the only reason Netflix will still exists is because non-english people, Netflix offers easy to watch movies in their languages so that will always help, while English movies are always uploaded to the web within seconds and people can ‘bypass’ any payment easily. But for other languages sites like that are more limited or not good, for quality of image and audio, so I think that’s why Netflix will still be fine.

  2. MW said on June 28, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    I to support additional tiers and providing consumers with options re: ads vs. no ads.

    That said, the issue with Netflix (generally) is the content has gone firmly downhill. Perhaps it is different in other countries, but here in North America, Netflix’s content resembles basic cable era quality now. There are some wanna-be blockbuster movies and the occasional “prestige” TV show, but the vast majority of content being pumped out by them are braindead reality shows and mindless sitcoms.

    I canceled Netflix less because it was expensive, but more than compared to HBO Max and Hulu….the content just sucks.

  3. yanta said on June 28, 2022 at 10:21 am

    Netflix is dead. Poisoned by Blackrock and their push for ESG control. Streaming services no longer care about their viewers, only meeting BlackRock’s demands for ESG scores.

    I haven’t watched commercial television since the mid 1980’s.

    When Telstra’s FoxTel and the Australian equivalents introduced commercials I dumped those services immediately.

    Given the complete garbage being thrust upon us over the last two years+ the best approach is to forego all streaming services, Free To Air and cinemas completely. There are better things to do like have a BBQ, talk to friends and neighbors. Play sport. Y’know – social type activities.

    Really, is the world really going to end if we don’t find out if Tammy slept with Fred, and whether the baby she is having is his or the handsome young stranger from Morocco that she slept with last month (fictional story line btw)

  4. Mystique said on June 28, 2022 at 8:39 am

    You gotta love how these media companies are repeating the same mistakes as their predecessors. Steaming used to be seen as the middle finger to the cable companies for the very same reasons they are stooping to the same level.

    I have never subscribed to any of these services as there hasn’t been much worthwhile to watch or compelling reasons as to why I should subscribe to a service and have access to it for a limited amount of time. I would rather buy the physical medium if it is that good and rip it to whatever format I please if need be that way I can have it for as long as I live at my finger tips and not have to worry if some greedy corporation is going to pull the rug out from under us and leave me holding the bag.

    Netflix is truly dancing on the minefield and they’re clutching at rather thin straws by attacking its customers.

    The truth is you aren’t going to be seeing much benefit as a user from this new ad scheme. It’s purely designed to keep the rich fat and filthy.

    I’m sure on a few years time the ad-free option will be removed or increased to levels of which do not make financial sense, they of course will justify this by suggesting that it is due to additional quality being delivered.

    There are far too many streaming services these days and it waters down what exists and makes it all overly expensive and complicated. Nobody likes bills either and the more people get the more annoyed they get.
    It’s more than a house of cards these days but a house of cards built on quicksand.

  5. Anonymous said on June 28, 2022 at 3:53 am

    I can do without it. There is really nothing worth watching since 2019.

  6. Peterc said on June 28, 2022 at 3:28 am

    One of the things I worry about with ad-supported streaming is an increase in advertiser influence over content and editorial decision-making. On the other hand, many streaming services are already part of conglomerates that also own advertiser-supported properties (such as broadcast TV networks). Even pure-pay streaming services in those conglomerates are *already* subject to significant pressure from the top, so as not to alienate advertisers from their sister companies. This isn’t rocket science: advertisers don’t support content they don’t want consumers to see, so the more media companies rely on advertising revenue, the narrower the points of view that are permitted to air.

  7. ECJ said on June 27, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    Opinion: No it’s not.

    What you *think* will happen is that the streaming price without ads will stay the same price and ad-supported price will be a cheaper option.

    What will actually happen is they will just keep rising the prices, until the ad-supported price will be what you’re paying now without ads and the ad-free option will become too expensive.

  8. g. said on June 27, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    As for netflix, their pricing is way too steep for where I live. One whole year of amazon prime is cheaper than just one month of netflix and hbo max is less than half the price of netflix. I compare to the plan with HD video, they can stick the potato quality one up where the sun don’t shine, it’s a twisted joke to offer only 480p in this day and age. And I will definitely never sign up for an ad supported plan, personally I find the idea offensive. I can’t stand ads and I block them everywhere I can.

  9. Anonymous said on June 27, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    Are people too poor for your streaming service?
    Lets give them a cheaper ad filled option with products they also can’t afford.

  10. Paul(us) said on June 27, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    Ghacks.net (a.k.a. Martin Brinkman and others) is not the only one who thinks that the theater experience is not user friendly. And its not only that “The night cost me over $50” but is more much more. Right now there are 85 inch (215.9 cm) flat screens (Around a $ 1.100,- and up) so the change that I am going back is slim. Because after going 22 times to the movie theater I right now have my money back. https://www.reviewgeek.com/121416/sorry-movie-theaters-im-never-going-back/

    And i am still a great fan of free streaming payed by the government. Here in the Netherlands we have a few government streaming services with more interesting TV programs and also some commercial services that broadcast pulp TV.
    You can also watch all channels for free on your desktop, laptop, tablet or phone.

    The significant difference is that with the government you get the advertising after the film, TV series, documentary, etc. and with the commercial during the broadcast.

  11. Tom Hawack said on June 27, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    Personally I don’t subscribe to any media streaming. Over a hundred TV channels : when a film I like appears in a TV Guide I spare an evening to view it then close the TV. I like to consider pleasures as an event rather than as over-feed.

    Cinema, its screen, its audio, its atmosphere is where I go to discover the latest movies. Paid media streaming was mabe an incentive for some to keep in consideration the cinema theaters. I’m afraid free or cheaper media streaming brought to you by advertisement will dig deeper the traditional cinemas’ grave. Though I’m not particularly wealthy I know two things : 1- I’d rather pay for media streaming then endure an ad-supported service, 2- I’d be as rich as Croesus (or Rockefeller, or any of Forbes’ top hundred, make it thousand) that I wouldn’t spare a dime for media streaming : I just don’t like it, I deeply dislike in particular Netflix’s attempt to universality. I’m of the old school : cinema theaters, only, TV once in a while for replays.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 27, 2022 at 5:11 pm

      Tom, I loved cinema as a kid. Nowadays, I don’t go there anymore. Maybe it is different in France and other places, but I find it an unpleasant experience. Sound is often too loud, ticket prices are high, and some of the other attendees have no manners at all. Anyway, I prefer to buy media over streaming or going to the cinema, but only if I’m 100% sure it is worth it. Otherwise, I choose abstinence.

      1. Paul(us) said on June 27, 2022 at 6:43 pm

        Plus 1.

      2. Yash said on June 27, 2022 at 6:22 pm

        ‘Sound is often too loud, ticket prices are high, and some of the other attendees have no manners at all.’

        Wow everything is spot on. Watching horror films has been a real pain and after pandemic people now literally have no manners. Maybe it is stored energy releasing after lockdowns but it isn’t pleasant. I prefer Cinema still but as a rare occasion. The biggest issue is ticket prices and so I wait two weeks. Another plus point of waiting is there isn’t a large crowd in the cinema by then to ruin experience.

      3. Tom Hawack said on June 27, 2022 at 5:44 pm

        @Martin, true that cinemas no longer are what they were. Speaking of France, the sound’s volume, too high, parasites its quality quite often indeed. What bothers me the most are the 15-20 minutes of promotional and advertisement before the very beginning of the movie, so if you wish to avoid that you’ll have to add 20 minutes to the announced start of the performance : you’ve paid the thea ter and yet get once again over-fed with ads (fortunately at the start).

        My feeling is that the movie theaters are an example among others of a world were many of us grasp pleasures quickly, enjoy them superficially and then hop to life’s next goodies : we consume, fast, be it food, be it art.

        Nevertheless I prefer a cinema theater , but I understand things move and, without being ill of nostalgia, the best I can do is express preferences without claiming it was better then, when applicable. It was different.

        As I mentioned above, I’m referring to times when pleasures were an event. Last time I took the plane I saw some passengers smiling when another arrived, sort of dressed up as if he was attending mass. Personally I found that touching, in the same way a family of little wealth decides to go the restaurant : an event, you notice it, it’s not funny, it’s touching. Nowadays is considered an event first performances, be there to be seen and say to all you were there, film the event and forget enjoying. Something odd in today’s world…

  12. Yash said on June 27, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    One thing which is noticeable with streaming services is 15 years ago piracy was at its peak. Then streaming services came giving users a fantastic alternative to not download stuff from other sources. Unfortunately now there are too many streaming services with their annual unreasonable price hikes. So again other sources are back in full flow. The circle completed.

    I like ad supported streaming services as long as ads are not served on a personalized basis. Those ads don’t serve any purpose in my opinion. But the main issue with streaming services is their sheer number and even then content isn’t tied to one service. At any moment content becomes unavailable. For this reason I’ve only subscribed to ad supported services which shows live sports coz finding streaming links is not easy.

    1. RationalPerson said on June 28, 2022 at 2:50 pm

      Agree. We canceled cable over twenty years ago due to 220+ channels of nothing. The high monthly bills of $275 pre-Bush dollars didn’t help matters. Between Netflix DVDs and P…..Bay, we needed no other means of entertainment. Then came the golden era, when Netflix began streaming around 2008. The tech was extremely buggy but was superb thanks to an incredible catalog. Around that time, I ceased pirating altogether because the streaming content filled all gaps and greatly expanded my realm of entertainment horizons (never heard of half of the excellent shows that were then streaming).

      A decade later, Hollywood greed slowly destroyed Netflix. imho, Netflix then began to destroy itself by spinning out subpar content. Making matters worse was inserting social messaging that had nothing to do with entertainment. I am very liberal but don’t care to be exposed to another’s messaging without consent. The messaging included everything from social to politics to Hollywood 1940s style messaging that smoking is cool and glamorous again. No, no thanks, that’s an undermining and offensive behavior.

      Two years ago, we canceled Netflix with extreme prejudice and no longer stream. For a variety of reasons, we never tried the other platforms (their greed, them destroying the once great Netflix, corrupting US democracy via bribes to corrupt politicians – to extend copyright to forever minus one day, etc).

      Since we no longer stream, enjoyment of entertainment has immensely increased. Entertainment is once again predictable and not subject to the whim of cancellation. Entertainment is near hassle-free, not subject to buffering, and has an “immediate on” experience (you click, it instantly plays, no locked screens you have to watch before you get to the content you paid for – such as is done on DVDs and BluRays). I know exactly what I will watch tonight, I know it will be there, and I know the tech will play it perfect and in high quality. There will be zero Streaming/BluRay hassles.

      Adding to those benefits is the privacy factor. Our viewing habits are not monitored, not recorded, not logged, nor sold. Nor does my ISP know I am watching TV, nor when I am done, nor when I pause, etc (because corrupt ISPs sell their customer’s private data too ya’ know). I believe Netflix always respected user privacy which I deeply appreciated. But the studios? The analytics they process and sell would baffle even the privacy ignorant masses.

      So, back to the subject at hand. Netflix ads are an indicator that its streaming content is continuing to be commoditized. It will no longer be a premium experience and will be targeting the masses. I assume this means that excellent shows such as the Queen’s Gambit will continue to be fewer with the gaps filled in with inferior content not worth the time it took to view its title.

      So, what would a rational person do in these circumstances? There really is only one forced choice for rational person to take. For the less tech savvy, there is always the local library which rents DVDs. For the tech savvy, there are alternatives from everything from TV antennas (yeah right) to other avenues.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on June 27, 2022 at 5:07 pm

      Yash, I noticed the very same thing. The lack of legitimate access to certain materials drove people to piracy. Piracy went down when streaming services started to emerge, but the launching of more and more services seems to reverse the trend.

  13. Tachy said on June 27, 2022 at 4:02 pm

    These new tiers are not to make media available to more people. In fact they probably generate more profit for the suppliers due to the advertising dollars.This is simply a grab at more cash, it’s greed pure and simple.

    The greedier they get, the more people pirate, this is a fact proven by data, not an opinion.

  14. Anonymous said on June 27, 2022 at 4:01 pm

    >paying for movies
    I seriously hope you guys don’t do this

    1. Anonymous said on June 27, 2022 at 5:12 pm

      There is no green text here, go back to your containment board.

      1. Anonymous said on June 28, 2022 at 5:32 pm

        Has a point though, if you speak English and/or only watch English movies, paying for movies is stupid, there are so many sites to search for movies these days, and you can even get better deal with better sound and all in many cases.
        Of course, all that doesn’t change how stupid is to watch movies or tv shows is, unless you are doing something while you watch them, then you are sitting, staring at a screen, doing nothing with your life, while ‘actors’ who are not more than just pretenders liars who are just good at pretending they are not who they are in real life just keep running the show and getting millions for it.
        It became even worst with the VFX advancement era when shows wouldn’t even go out to film and even filming some sitcom like Big Bang Theory was done with a green screen when they went out for an episode about Halloween or something (only watched how the company made it, not the episode).
        So now everything is green screen anyway, even more fake than it was before. It’s like people getting crazy about super hero movies when it is a bunch of old people with costumes.

        At least kids watching cartoons in the past or still today when DC Comics make the best animated super hero movies and series, that’s art, Anime and all that, they don’t ‘draw’ so much anymore in many cases like in the past, but still I put it in the art category, but watching humans doing stupid crap in movies is just dumb.

        So the person has a point, paying for movies that can be easily gotten on the internet? I am not even talking about the boogieman ‘torrents’ that your ISP might flag you for using even if you are downloading Ubuntu, I am talking about websites where you can watch anything you want even if it is still a bunch of ugly humans pretending to be who they are not in real life.
        Free and no ads, and you can always push it to tv with Chromecast or some of those devices.

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