57% of subscribers say they would immediately cancel Netflix if it ran ads

Netflix receives ad warning

Netflix is walking a fine line between further monetising its audience and eroding its USP with the findings that 57% of subscribers say they would drop the service if it were ever to introduce ads, according to data from Audience Project.

A weighted Q4 study across UK, US, Nordic and German audiences comprising 16,000 respondents found that a majority would turn their backs on the OTT service if it were to ever follow through on ad plans. Ahead of its quarterly earnings call the company is currently monitoring the fallout from its latest price hike.

The study found that even if Netflix were to lower prices upon the introduction of ads, 42% of respondents would still cancel. Any changes to its structure threaten to alter the streaming company’s pole position in the market – 70% of UK respondents said they use Netflix, a figure that has increased by 30% in the last 18 months.

Following closely behind for Brits is the BBC iPlayer which 61% say they use (after an 8% drop in 18 months). Amazon Prime Video grew by 33% to 44% in the same period, and a quarter have access to NowTV.

Martyn Bentley, commercial director the UK at AudienceProject, said: “Our findings highlight the growing importance of targeting and relevance in advertising. As consumers have an increasing choice over whether or not they see ads, both broadcasters and advertisers alike need to work hard to ensure that campaigns enhance experience, rather than detract – plus it suggests that greater inroads need to be made with Connected TV as a means to help tailor advertising at a granular level.”

83% of all UK respondents still watch traditional TV on a weekly basis, but 43% claim that this is at a lower level compared to last year. Additionally, 63% of respondents said they use other devices while watching TV, indicating how habits are changing.

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