Why Pay a Subscription and Still be Forced to Watch Ads? Netflix (WSJ)

I canceled Netflix some time ago because I consider the programming to be woefully subpar. But what I don’t understand is why anyone would pay a subscription plan that included ads. Pay to watch ads? No thank you.

Netflix has been trying to get more people to join its $6.99 a month plan that plays ads since launching it last year. Those customers deliver more revenue per member than its basic and standard plans because Netflix makes money from the ads as well as the monthly subscription fee.

That is why I never paid for cable TV and why I have never paid for various streaming services which still include ads. If I’m paying, it is to avoid ads. If I’m not paying, then I will barely tolerate ads (the content better be good). But I will never pay to watch ads. I view written (printed or online) material similarly. If I have paid, then I don’t want to see the pages filled with ads.

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I always mute ads, I seldom watch them. They appeal to greed, seek to normalize the abnormal, and are mostly dishonest. I have little tolerance for most advertising. That is not to say that all advertising is bad or dishonest. Advertising has an important role to play in our economy but, bad ads are, bad.

As reported in ScienceDaily, appealing to and increasing narcissism as a way to sell products and services is unashamedly promoted in the Journal of Retailing, Marketing and Psychology:

Our research suggests that firms should consider customers’ narcissistic tendencies as well as the ability to influence their current states of mind to exploit the largely untapped potential of mass customization systems … Another study demonstrated that firms can put consumers into a temporary narcissistic state of mind with marketing techniques. For example, customers were shown an automobile advertisement with the slogan, ‘You impress. Like the new Audi A6,’ that capitalized on their desire for admiration … The research also implies that firms need not increase customer share of true narcissists in order to enhance product uniqueness. Rather, a firm can realize similar benefits by creating narcissistic states [emphasis added].

Maybe its because I so rarely view ads that when I do see them, the absurdity of them is so glaringly obvious. In fact they tend to have the opposite effect from what I assume is desired. Or maybe its just that I’m not that narcissistic (I try not to be). Take the Audi ad sited as an example in the previous quote. If I were to see that add I would think: “Ah so Audis are for rich insecure snobs. That’s not me. Guess I won’t be looking at Audis next time I’m in the market for a new car.”

Everyone makes their own choices, and, for some, saving a few dollars in exchange for watching some adverts is a bargain.

I guess @Bmosbacker you - like eme - have reached that stage of life where money isn’t as scarce as it used to be, and the pain of watching adverts is higher than it used to be.


The Audi ads are nothing compared to the ambulance-chasing ads by lawyers. Those absolutely drive me nuts. I am all for justice for those who have been injured, but the majority of those ads make a very explicit appeal to greed, not justice.

like eme - have reached that stage of life where money isn’t as scarce as it used to be, and the pain of watching adverts is higher than it used to be.

I think there is merit to what you say. I would add, however, I would like to think that I’ve become less materialistic, and perhaps just a little wiser as well. At least, that’s what I tell myself. :slightly_smiling_face:

Amazon is beginning to put trailers at the start and end of movies which I don’t like. You can click next, but I still don’t want it.

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I get ads on NOWtv which is a UK streaming company (including much HBO content). I could pay more to remove them (+£6 per month) but a) there are so few of them they’re barely noticeable b) there aren’t any for ambulance-chasing lawyers :slight_smile: c) £6 a month is not an insignificant sum of money for me - it could pay for an app subscription!

An ad supported Netflix subscription is a reasonable option for people who want some entertainment, but are watching their outgoings too. You get (most of ) the programming and don’t spend so much. Like you I don’t subscribe because the programming is poor - they went through a phase of very dark and often twisted dramas.

Unfortunately I can’t read the WSJ article (or indeed any of the Apple News posts on here)… ironically, I get an advert for an Apple News subscription instead.

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It looks like Netflix have added an optional tier which is cheaper, but comes with adverts. That seems reasonable to me - if you don’t want the adverts then pay the standard amount rather than the discounted amount.

I feel like the argument it conflating access to subscription television and showing advertisements and they are two different things.

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