New, Older Netflix Subscribers Are More Likely to Switch to Ad Tier – But Gen Z Isn’t Interested

A survey conducted by Samba TV and Harris X of 1,300 Netflix users showed that nearly half would consider the move

Netflix viewership ratings
(Netflix/Getty/Christopher Smith, TheWrap)

Nearly half of current Netflix subscribers (46%) would consider a shift to the platform’s ad-supported model once it’s available, according to a survey of 1,300 current users conducted by Samba TV and Harris X. The data collected also showcases that those willing to make the move tend to skew older and make less per capita, with Gen Z respondents being the least interested (at 38%) in making the switch.

As previously reported this month, the embattled streamer has plans to launch its ad-supported pricing tier in November, ahead of competitor Disney+’s own ad-supported model debut in December. Additional details on pricing have not yet been announced, but TechCrunch estimates that the cost could fall between $7 to $9. (Currently, basic Netflix plans are $9.99 a month, with standard and premium pricing at $15.99 and $19.99, respectively.) Despite mixed opinions on the matter, the data gathered by Samba TV and Harris X indicate that the tier will not present a risk to the company.

Roughly half of Netflix users (45%) said they would consider switching to a tier discounted by half of what they currently pay as long as ads totaled five minutes or less per hour. More than half (51%) would deliberate the shift should the service be free (an unlikely scenario).

A further breakdown by age and income illuminated that a majority of Boomers (52%) and almost half of Millennials (48%) would be interesting in shifting to the ad tier, whereas Gen Z, who have more or less grown up on ad-free streaming, are less inclined to do so. Additionally, a majority of those making under $75,000 expressed an interest in moving to the tier as opposed to less than half (42%) of those making over that amount.

The ad tier also opens up the avenue for Netflix to bring in more subscribers; nine out of 10 non-users already report watching ad-supported streaming content, with 1 out of 3 of them being under 35, according to a survey of 1,200 non-subscribers.

“The exciting value proposition from Netflix’s upcoming ad model lies in the possibility it offers to bring in net new or lapsed subscribers,” Samba TV CEO and co-founder Ashwin Navin said in a statement. “9 out of 10 adults who do not currently have a Netflix subscription watch other ad-supported content today, indicating these audiences have no aversion to watching ads in exchange for free or reduced price content and are prime candidates to turn to Netflix’s new ad-supporter tier.”

In all, Samba TV’s survey with the Harris polling firm collected data from over 2,500 U.S. adults from Aug. 29 through Sept. 1. The sampling margin of error of the poll is plus or minus 2.0 percentage points. The results reflect a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults, with results weighted for age by gender, region, race/ethnicity and income where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.