Netflix Takes Advertising In-House with Launch of Ad Server

Netflix is launching its own ad server, bringing control of the advertising experience of its 270 million subscribers in-house. The company will use its new ad tech to create personalized ads that can be highly targetable, Netflix President of Advertising Amy Reinhard said onstage at the upfronts, providing brands with new ways to buy and to slice and dice consumer data. The deployment puts Netflix in the mix with other industry heavyweights like Google, Amazon and Comcast, which also operate their own ad servers. The move comes 18 months after Netflix entered the advertising business in partnership with Microsoft.

“The announcement signifies a significant shake-up in the streaming giant’s advertising approach,” according to TechCrunch, which points out that the streamer “originally partnered with Microsoft to develop its ad tech, letting Netflix enter the ad space quickly and catch up with rivals like Hulu, which has had its own ad server for over a decade.”

“At Netflix’s second upfront presentation to advertisers, the message was clear: When you advertise with Netflix, you can reach the most engaged audience in the world,” Netflix said in an announcement claiming “40 percent of all signups in the ads countries now come from the ads plan.”

The company also attested to “40 million global monthly active users — up from 5 million a year ago.”

Reinhard referenced “deep consumer research” she said helps keep the streamer ahead of other ad platforms. “Netflix didn’t say exactly how its in-house solution will change the way ads are delivered, but it’s likely it’ll move away from generic advertisements,” TechCrunch writes, citing a July 2023 Financial Times report suggesting Netflix’s knowledge of subscribers’ viewing habits will allow it to experiment with “episodic” ad campaigns that tell a story.

The 10 month-old FT story says Netflix was building its own ad tech even back then, and planned to end its deal with Microsoft once it was set up in-house.

“Google, Netflix, and Warner Bros.’ ad tech stole the show from celebrities at TV upfronts,” reports Fast Company, noting that Amazon “rained dollar bills from the ceiling” to promote an upcoming Prime Video “reality competition from YouTube personality Mr. Beast that offers a $5 million prize.”

“Disney CEO Bob Iger returned to the upfront stage for the first time since 1994, back when ‘television used to be something you watched on television,’” Reuters quoted the exec quipping.

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