Netflix reportedly in talks to partner with major smart TV system

Netflix may soon work more closely with companies that help distribute its content. According to a report by The Broadcast, Netflix has negotiated possible new deals with Roku and Comcast. These partnerships primarily deal with Netflix’s next ad-supported membership tier, but they could have other implications down the line.

Rumors recently pointed to Netflix looking to buy Roku and merge with the hardware company, but market analysts cast doubt on those stories. However, Tuesday information published a more plausible report. It says Netflix has entered into talks with Roku and Comcast “to discuss agreements under which these companies would manage either ad sales or the technical infrastructure for Netflix’s next tier of ad-supported service.”

A Netflix spokesperson responded to the report saying, “We are still in the early days of deciding to launch a cheaper, ad-supported option, and no decision has been made. So it’s just speculation at this point. “Netflix has long said it would never use ads to boost revenue, but after its first quarter 2022 earnings report, it changed its tune.

Even if the company goes the commercial route, Netflix would be at a disadvantage compared to its competitors. Streamers like Peacock and Hulu already take advantage of ad-supported streaming, but they respectively use connections between advertisers and affiliate brands like NBC and ABC. When Disney+ launches its ad-supported tier later this year, it will have the same head start, while Netflix will have to forge its own new connections.

Roku generally takes turns with Amazon Fire TV as the most popular streaming hardware on the market. The company made headlines for several months last year as it tried to negotiate a new deal with Google for its access to YouTube and YouTube TV. At the time, Roku published a blog post touting its unbiased “independent research results” that gave no preference to any particular streaming service. It’s unclear if this would impact negotiations with Netflix.

Currently, Netflix has three membership tiers, none of which have ads. That will change in the coming months as Netflix experiments with ways to add more users to an existing subscription or watch ads in exchange for a cheaper monthly bill. It is not yet known when this type of service could begin.

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