Disputes, Employee Misconduct Rattle Centerview’s Silicon Valley DreamsRead more

Reed Hastings. Photo by Bloomberg.

Netflix’s Reed Hastings Bows to Advertising Reality

Photo: Reed Hastings. Photo by Bloomberg.

Hell has frozen over. Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings’ revelation tonight that he is willing to introduce a lower-priced tier of service supported by commercials is a ground-shaking strategic shift for the video-streaming pioneer. In the past he had resolutely opposed adding advertising, even as most Netflix rivals had done so. But Hastings is nothing if not a realist. His change of heart came as Netflix reported a first-quarter drop in subscriber numbers and projected a more severe falloff in the second quarter. Netflix shares plunged 25% to their lowest point since 2019 in response.

In its commentary on the quarter, Netflix blamed its subscriber stagnation on competition from newer streaming services and widespread password sharing by Netflix subscribers. But the reversal on advertising is an implicit acknowledgement that Netflix has become uncompetitive on price, particularly since its recent increase. That increase was a mistake: Netflix raised prices as inflation was causing households to tighten their belts and the array of streaming options was widening. Netflix is now the priciest service out there . By introducing a cheaper tier with ads, Netflix will get a shot at a segment it is now missing out on: people willing to sit through ads if it means paying less for a service.

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
From left, a Google TPU, Broadcom CEO Hock Tan and Google Cloud chief Thomas Kurian. Photos via Getty, Google and YouTube.
Exclusive google semiconductors
To Reduce AI Costs, Google Wants to Ditch Broadcom as Its TPU Server Chip Supplier
Google executives have extensively discussed dropping Broadcom as a supplier of artificial intelligence chips as early as 2027, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort.
From left to right: Blair Effron, Robert Pruzan and David Handler. Photos by Getty; Tidal Partners.
Exclusive Finance
Disputes, Employee Misconduct Rattle Centerview’s Silicon Valley Dreams
The San Francisco Bay Area–based bankers at Centerview Partners, the investment bank that advised Silicon Valley Bank’s owner and Credit Suisse through recent turmoil, got two doses of bad news last week.
Art by Clark Miller
Exclusive startups entertainment
MasterClass Takes a Crash Course in Frugality
MasterClass had a problem with the shoot featuring its latest star instructor, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger.
Photos via Eiso Kant (left) and YouTube/VMWare Tanzu (right)
AI Agenda startups ai
How GitHub Copilot’s Co-Creator Raised $126 Million to Compete with His Former Employer
Recent interest in artificial intelligence has focused on large-language models that aim to do everything from writing Shakespearean poetry to solving math riddles.
If AI researchers can meet Nat Friedman's Vesuvius Challenge, “It’ll be the first time we’ve read handwriting that hasn’t been seen in 2,000 years.” Art by Clark Miller
The AI Age culture ai
Nat Versus the Volcano: Can an AI Investor Solve an Ancient Mystery from the Ashes of Vesuvius?
Long before men’s daily thoughts about ancient Rome became a TikTok meme , former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman’s mind was regularly turning toward the Roman Empire.
Art by Clark Miller
The Big Read policy
Europe Has Figured Out How to Tame Big Tech. Can the U.S. Learn Its Tricks?
Late last month in Belgium, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) had a pressing question for Paul Tang, a Dutch politician and member of the European Parliament.