Stephen Colbert Skewers Netflix Ads With New Parody on The Late Show

Netflix has often found a way into the news, with the streaming service regularly making headlines for its buzzworthy programming and whether or not it ends up getting cancelled. This week, the streamer made it into the news for an unexpected reason, after reports indicated that they have lost 200,000 subscribers in Q4. The company has cited multiple excuses for why that problem occurred, and has outlined plans to retain subscribers by cracking down on password sharing and even unveiling a cheaper, ad-supported option of its service. That latter news definitely surprised subscribers, especially after years suggesting that it wouldn't necessarily be the case. The ordeal even got lampooned on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, with the show creating a fake advertisement from Netflix promoting the idea.

The parody ad in question suggests that Netflix would literally integrate product placement into its shows, such as the maniacal doll on Squid Game being replaced by a laser-eyed Pillsbury Doughboy, and McDonald's mascot Grimace participating in the latest season of Love Is Blind. The end result is hilarious, even if the actual implementation of Netflix's ad-supported version might not look exactly the same.

"Those who have followed Netflix know that I have been against the complexity of advertising, and a big fan of the simplicity of subscription," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings revealed earlier this week during the company's quarterly earnings call. "But as much as I am a fan of that, I am a bigger fan of consumer choice. And allowing consumers who would like to have a lower price, and are advertising-tolerant get what they want, makes a lot of sense. It is pretty clear that it is working for Hulu. Disney is doing it, HBO did it. We don't have any doubt that it works,"

The idea of Netflix potentially introducing advertisements has been speculated about for years, with financial experts indicating that it could generate over $1 billion in additional revenue per year for the streamer.

"An ad-supported tier could [also] provide a lift to free cash flow, reducing the need for Netflix to raise debt frequently, especially beyond 2021 into a potentially rising rate environment," financial CEO Mark Kelley argued in 2019.