Netflix is planning to make some changes after a drop in subscribers—and one of them is a move the company has long resisted. Founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings said Tuesday that the company is looking at bringing in advertising to support lower-priced subscription models, Deadline reports. "Those who have followed Netflix know that I’ve been against the complexity of advertising and a big fan of the simplicity of subscription," he said. "But as much as I’m a fan of that, I’m a bigger fan of consumer choice."
"Allowing consumers who would like to have a lower price, and are advertising-tolerant, get what they want makes a lot of sense," Hastings said "So, that’s something we’re looking at now, we’re trying to figure out over the next year or two." Analysts say the shift was probably inevitable, the New York Times reports. Other streaming services are also offering lower-priced subscriptions plans with ads, including Disney+. When Disney announced the change last month, it described it as a "building block" in its path to meeting subscription targets. Hulu has had ads since 2007, and introduced an ad-free tier.
"It is pretty clear that it is working for Hulu. Disney is doing it. HBO did it. I don't think we have a lot of doubt that it works," Hastings said. "All those companies have figured it out. I'm sure we'll just get in and figure it out." Investors, however, apparently don't have much faith that the plan will turn things around at Netflix: The company's stock has dropped more than 35% since it announced Tuesday that subscriber numbers had fallen for the first time since 2011. (Read more Netflix stories.)