March 22, 2023

Netflix with ads: how long are the ads and how does it work?

On Nov. 3, Netflix released its cheapest subscription tier yet, with the caveat that it’s ad-supported. The ad tier costs $7 per month in the US, and Netflix has a lot of content to watch, even with over 250 movies and TV shows on this tier. As for the ads themselves, we know what Netflix has told us about the experience, but what’s the basic thing about the ads that you’re actually watching?

While familiarizing ourselves with the new plan, we found out some interesting things about the basic plan for advertisements. Mind you, nothing we found in the two days we messed around with this level was all that shocking. The level of Netflix was pretty straight forward with no big surprises for the average person watching the streaming service. Still, there is one somewhat unexpected aspect of the new level that we’ll get to.

Ad length:

According to Netflix, you should get about 4 minutes of ads per hour, but that can vary by title. Apparently you can’t skip the ads. When you watch an episode of the recently released Netflix original Blockbuster, the first episode – which ran for about 30 minutes – had 2 minutes and 15 seconds of commercials. The second episode had 2 minutes and 30 seconds of commercials.

When watching different shows and movies, the ads had the same four time slots: 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 60 seconds, and 75 seconds. We never saw a 90-second ad spot, and we watched a total of about 25 full commercial breaks while watching content on Netflix — and that’s not including the numerous times we saw an ad before starting a movie or TV show. of the content and backed off.

The highest number of ads for a single piece of content we saw was while we were watching it (2017). In total, the 2 hour and 15 minute film had six commercial breaks, adding up to 8 minutes of commercials – true to Netflix’s claim of roughly 4 minutes of commercials per hour.

Ad types:

Netflix claims that ads can be tailored based on the genre of content you’re watching. We discovered that this was not the case. No matter what we watched, the ads were the same no matter what you were streaming.

The ads shown during the app appeared to be more travel-related. There were a lot of typical car ads, hotel and cruise booking sites. In addition to travel-themed ads, we saw spots for very expensive jewelry, moisturizers, a sandwich shop, makeup, and a big box.

In a world of tailored ads, while watching content online, it was a little disconcerting that the ads didn’t match the user’s personal interests, but were refreshing at the same time. The best part of the ad experience – if there is a “best part” – was that ours had no political ads.

Ads stopped loading:

As for one surprise we saw while digging into the basics of the ad tier, we found that the ads stopped appearing at some point as we quickly realized that it’s a lot more intuitive than we knew. A few times after going to the next ad roll, the ads for movies and TV shows stopped loading for a while. After about 30 minutes the ads reloaded. It seems that when you run ads for 4 minutes as fast as possible, the ads simply stop loading for the next hour.

And speaking of commercials, certain shows and movies didn’t have any – Seinfeld being one of them. This scenario was rare. There were also movies that had a commercial at the beginning of the movie and then no more. Plus, nothing on the Kids account loaded ads, so now your child can play Cocomelon non-stop without hearing about the cheapest hotels online.

Netflix’s level of advertising is exactly as expected, with no major surprises. Everything defined by the streaming service before launch was performed for new users. However, going basic is probably the best way to go. For $2 a month, no ads, no locked content, and you can download content to one supported device to watch later. If the advertising tier was $2 cheaper per month, reading the ads would be worth it.

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