At the time of writing this article in March 2019 I had come across an article that bothered me. Rumour has it that Netflix is beta testing advertising in their product. Some may argue that Facebook has ads now and is still the most visited website in the world. This is true but Facebook is free if you can tolerate the repetitive and sometimes irrelevant ads between the self-absorbed and conceitedly liked content your “friends” post.
The difference lies with necessity over greed. Facebook stakeholders needed to start generating revenue to warrant their steady flow of running capital and the inflate net worth of the Facebook brand. Netflix for me is a case of greed that will compromise the quality and fundamentals of their product. I pay for a content service and ergo I do not want to be bombarded with marketing.
In my opinion there are only 2 long term ways where advertising can work and be more profitable for Netflix:
They launch a separate product making it free to new and existing users who would prefer not to pay for the content and do not mind advertising. This will make Netflix just as inclusive as Facebook, up their viewership and allow them to use their recommended content engine to recommend relevant product ads based on user content viewed and liked.
Utilize relevant product placement in specific content to tastefully push products for their advertisers in Netflix Originals.
Number 2 is already being done profitably with car brands, drinks, eatery chains and retail products. We can expect a lot more of this in the future and we can only hope the producers and content writers do not overdo it.
Coming back to my concern… Greed tends to ruin a good thing, so Netflix needs to be very careful and calculating with there next move or they will lose viewers to the next “big thing” by over commercialising their product.