Netflix with Ads grows to 23M global MAUs, exec says

The advertising-supported version of Netflix has drawn more than 23 million monthly active users in the countries where the tier is available, the company's head of advertising affirmed this week.

The figure was revealed Wednesday by Netflix President of Advertising Amy Reinhard during an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, according to a report by Variety. It comes about two months after Netflix disclosed its subscription ad-supported tier, called Netflix with Ads, had grown to more than 15 million monthly active users during its first full year.

It was not clear from Reinhard's comments how many of those 23 million subscribers were new customers compared to those who switched from a more-expensive, ad-free plan, though the company told investors last October that around 30% of new customers in the United States and 11 other countries were buying Netflix with Ads.

Netflix launched its ad tier in November 2022, charging customers around $7 per month to watch content with short commercial breaks. The price is around half what Netflix charges for Standard, its lowest-cost commercial-free tier, with customers shelling out $15.50 per month for uninterrupted streaming.

From the start, Netflix has worked with Microsoft's advertising business to draw marketers into the service, with initial prices set between $45 and $55 per 1,000 viewers, according to figures cited by the Wall Street Journal.

Last July, the WSJ said Netflix was seeking ways to re-work part of its agreement with Microsoft in a way that would allow the video company to sell advertising through other technology partners. It also agreed to lower its asking price to as low as $39 per 1,000 viewers, the newspaper reported.

The recalibration came after some Netflix executives expressed concerns that Microsoft was not selling enough of its ad inventory, the report said. Whatever concern there might have been appeared to be resolved: Last November, a Microsoft advertising executive published a blog recognizing the one-year milestone of Netflix with Ads, calling it an "exciting new opportunity" offered to marketers in the 12 countries where the tier is available.

"As their exclusive technology and sales partner—helping power their ad-supported plan—Microsoft Advertising has been working collaboratively with Netflix and advertisers to offer a variety of formats and experiences to reach highly engaged audiences, Lynne Kjolso, the Vice President of Global Partner and Retail Media at Microsoft Advertising, wrote in the post. "Together we’re shaping the future of advertising, bringing advertisers’ stories to Netflix members around the globe through Netflix’s popular series, movies, and live events."

Reinhard affirmed that same sentiment on Wednesday, telling a Variety journalist who served as the moderator of her CES appearance that the partnership with Microsoft was going well, the publication reported.

"We’re very fortunate to be able to take a long-term perspective on this," Reinhard said, according to Variety. "Scaling our business is absolutely our biggest priority right now, but we want to make sure we're doing that in a meaningful way for [our] members."