Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is pictured on May 3, 2018 in Lille, northern France during the first edition of the TV Series Mania festival.
Philippe Huguen | AFP | Getty Images
Netflix could face a substantial hit to its subscriber numbers if it brings advertising to its streaming service, a new report finds.
Twenty-three percent of respondents to a recent Hub Entertainment Research survey said they would definitely or probably drop their Netflix subscription if it began running ads at its current price point or a dollar cheaper, according to Streaming Media. That percentage would represent a loss of nearly 14 million subscribers from Netflix’s 60 million paid subscribers in the U.S.
Respondents were more forgiving of the ads if Netflix dropped prices. Only 14% of respondents said they would definitely or probably drop their subscription if it were $2 cheaper than they currently pay. That number fell to 12% at a $3 discount.
The study’s findings were based on a survey of 1,765 U.S. TV consumers between ages 16 and 74 who watch at least one hour of television a week and have broadband in the home.
The Hub study comes as advertising insiders speculate Netflix will make advertising a core part of its business someday. At a panel during IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts in April, Joshua Lowcock of media agency UM said he “can’t imagine a world where Netflix will be ad-free forever.”
Netflix does not run ads, but sometimes products appear within popular shows. The business relationship for those placements is complicated: The company recently told CNBC that it rarely accepts paid placement, but some brands pay a third-party to help facilitate product placements, often at the request of show creators.
Netflix announced its latest price increase in January, raising its most popular HD standard plan from $11 to $13. The company has so far opted for tinkering with subscription rates and offering billions of dollars in debt to fuel its cash burn. Netflix has previously…