Hot Topics at SXSW: NFTs and a Possibility of Ads on Netflix

Having risen to the position of world’s largest television network largely on the strength of its ad-free programming, there are now predictions that Netflix will over the next few years begin streaming advertisements. Fueled by a perceived softening in tone toward commercials by Netflix CFO Spencer Neumann at a recent investor conference, an analyst at the Variety Intelligence Platform’s “Future of Content” event at SXSW told festival attendees the change would come due to competition from so-called FAST channels — “free ad-supported streaming television.”

“They are going to have ads in the future at some point. Maybe five years? It’s going to happen,” VIP media analyst Gavin Bridge said of Netflix at SXSW, as reported by Variety.

Neumann spoke at Morgan Stanley’s 2022 Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on March 8. Asked to react to Disney’s announcement of a cheaper AVOD tier for Disney+ to launch later this year, he commented, “It’s hard for us to kind of ignore that others are doing it, but it now doesn’t make sense for us,” according to Variety.

“That’s not something that’s in our plans right now,” Neumann said. “We have a really nice scalable subscription model, and again, never say never, but it’s not in our plan.”

Bridge explained to SXSW attendees that FAST channels “are like cable — you pick a channel you want to watch and join it in progress. Everyone’s trying to enter this market.” Ad growth for live streaming channels “hit $13 billion last year,” reports Variety, noting that “several of Netflix’s biggest rivals offer ad-supported plans, including Hulu, HBO Max and Paramount+.” AVOD is forecasted to grow 82 percent by 2025, the publication said.

VIP president Andrew Wallenstein emphasized the surge in pandemic advertising dollars to Facebook and Google, according to Variety, which writes that “those two account for more than 50 percent of all digital ad dollars in the world,” creating “an existential threat to Big Media.”

The VIP-sponsored presentation “touted some eye-popping numbers, including the expectation that 2022 will see more than 2,000 new scripted and unscripted series launched in the ever-expanding global TV universe, up from 1,923 in 2021,” per Variety.

In other SXSW news, Cointelegraph reports that “companies from Doodles to luxury car manufacturer Porsche offered NFT-themed exhibits to the thousands of attendees appearing in person in Texas. Many panels and workshops included discussions on how to create and store customized NFTs.”

The metaverse was also represented. Ad Age writes that “some of the longest lines in Austin are for metaverse startups like FLUF World and Doodles.” FLUF World combines both, describing itself as “a metaverse ecosystem of NFT character collectibles.”

Other buzzy startups at SXSW include Matsuko, which promises “a true holographic presence using just a smartphone,” and Hume AI, bringing emotional responsiveness to artificial intelligence.

No Comments Yet

You can be the first to comment!

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.