Netflix instituted its long-promised/threatened ad-supported tier this week, offering consumers the exciting chance to cut their bills to $7 a month in exchange for selling a little more of their precious time on this planet. , and the sacred space that lives between their eyes, to the advertising gods. Thus the circle is closed; thus the ritual of televised capitalism is complete.
Ultimately, however, some of the creators who have set their sights on the streamer over the past few years – sometimes in very public, big-budget ways – aren’t entirely crazy about re-inserting commercial break into their creative lives. . Hence a report of CNBC this weekend in which sources (no one is talking about this one, mind you, because everyone involved seems to be keeping the hand that feeds them still as far away from their teeth as possible) suggest that, say, Shonda Rhimes, per example, is not crazy to Bridgerton episodes are suddenly cut short for commercials.
Rhimes was a big win for Netflix a few years ago, signing a very expensive multi-year deal in 2017 to create content exclusively for the streamer. (With the biggest results to date being Bridgerton and this year Invent Anna.) This deal, of course, was signed when Netflix was adamant about not including ads in its programming; see also the deal between Intrepid Pictures – the studio where Mike Flanagan makes all his Netflix projects – and the streamer, which came into effect in 2019. Flanagan is interesting, because CNBC notes, as his shows have often taken advantage of their streaming-only nature to play around with the format. (That is to say, if you want to watch that famous tracking episode of The Haunting of Hill House in, well, one shot, better pony for ad-free levels.)
There are a lot of little wrinkles about that, obviously, as various streamers find out, on a very public stage, how they want to incorporate ads into their offerings, now that they’ve figured out there’s money in this wacky “advertisement” thing. HBO Max has apparently pledged to only run commercials before and after shows, for example, refusing to break programs with commercials. (Netflix, meanwhile, said it has a team basically working to find organic breakpoints for all of its series, which sounds like a huge amount of work.) And then there’s the money: Netflix bluntly said it wouldn’t be sharing that new ad revenue with the creators of the shows the ads run on; it will be interesting to see how long this the position can hold before the “sources” turn into official statements of discontent.
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