By Dawn Chmielewski and Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:) said on Thursday it will introduce a streaming plan with advertising for roughly $7 per month starting on Nov. 3, a move to attract new subscribers after the company lost customers in the first half of the year.
The $6.99 cost for the “Basic with Ads” plan is $3 less than Netflix’s lowest-priced tier without commercials. The new option will be available in 12 countries including the United States, Britain, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan and Korea, the company said in a statement.
Subscribers to the plan will see roughly four to five minutes of advertising per hour, Netflix said. A “limited number” of movies and TV shows will not be available on the ad-supported plan because of licensing restrictions, “which we’re working on,” it added.
Netflix executives had adamantly opposed adding commercials to their service for years. They announced a change of heart in April when the company stunned Wall Street by shedding subscribers in the first quarter and predicting additional defections.
Other streaming services including Hulu, Disney+ and HBO Max have cheaper, ad-supported options or will offer them soon.
Netflix, known for hits such as “Stranger Things” and “Squid Game,” reported 220.7 million paying subscribers as of June, down nearly 1.2 million from the start of the year. The company projected it would add 1 million customers in the third quarter. The latest figures will be disclosed when Netflix reports earnings on Tuesday.
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