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Netflix Cancels 2023 Upfront Event for Virtual Presentation

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Now that Netflix is in the world of advertising thanks to its ad-supported tier, many expected the company to partake in an advertising upfront event at some point this year. The streamer had one scheduled for May 17th but as of Wednesday night, has pulled the plug on an in-person event. Instead, Netflix officials will prepare a virtual, streaming-only presentation that potential advertisers will be able to tune into. Though an exact reason for the cancellation was not revealed, the initial reporting from THR suggests the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike could be a reason why, given guild members had previously said they plan to picket upfronts through the strike.

It’s not the first event Netflix has had to cancel. Wednesday morning, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos cancelled an appearance at the annual PEN America Gala next week. “Given the threat to disrupt this wonderful evening, I thought it was best to pull out so as not to distract from the important work that PEN America does for writers and journalists, as well as the celebration of my friend and personal hero Lorne Michaels,” Sarandos said through a statement. “I hope the evening is a great success.”

Why does Netflix have ads?

As many other streamers have decided, Netflix opted to roll out a cheaper, ad-supported tier in an attempt to reach more subscribers earlier this year. According to the platform, the returns from such a subscription package have already been plenty fruitful.

“Engagement on our ads tier is above our initial expectations and, as expected, we’ve seen very little switching from our standard and premium plans,” Netflix officials said in a shareholder letter last month. “Also, thanks to our most recent set of licensing deals, our ad-supported plan now has on average ~95% content parity globally (by viewing) with our ads-free plans, including all the latest Netflix shows and movies. On the advertiser side, we are launching a programmatic private marketplace to enable more buying options for Netflix ad inventory using Microsoft’s sales platform. Our partnerships with Integral Ad Science and Double Verify are also now live – validating campaign engagement of ads viewership on Netflix.”

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