Currently, Netflix has no current plans to launch a streaming service that includes advertising, but a senior executive declined to rule it out in the future.
When asked if the company would rethink its long-held position that its service should stay ad-free, chief financial officer Spencer Neumann said on Tuesday, “Never say never,” adding, “It’s not something in our plan right now.”
Netflix, the world’s largest streaming service, has been urged by some Wall Street analysts to develop a lower-cost tier with advertising to boost revenue. However, the company’s rate of new subscribers has slowed in recent quarters, and Netflix shares have fallen roughly 43 per cent this year.
Disney revealed on Friday that it would provide an ad-supported streaming alternative for Disney+, joining AT&T’s WarnerMedia, Comcast, and others in attempting to entice customers willing to see advertising in exchange for not having to pay a monthly subscription.
“It’s not like we have a religious objection to advertising,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings remarked at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.
He did say that the company was concentrating on growing its current business, which caters to clients who want to watch movies and TV series without advertisements. “We believe we have a wonderful model,” Neumann added, “a subscription business that scales globally incredibly well.”
“It’s difficult for us to ignore what others are doing,” he continued, “but it doesn’t make sense for us right now.”
Netflix, according to Neumann, sees this year as a “learning year” for its foray into mobile games. So far, subscribers have had access to 14 games.
“In a decade, I hope this will be a substantial part of our business,” he said. “It will not be a significant component of our business in the next 12 months.”