The move Netflix long resisted is getting closer and closer: After announcing in April that it was considering adding a lower-priced, ad-supported subscription tier, the streaming company announced Wednesday that it is teaming with Microsoft to make that idea a reality, Deadline reports. "Today we are pleased to announce that we have selected Microsoft as our global advertising technology and sales partner," the COO said in a statement. As the AP puts it, that essentially means Microsoft will be the company helping Netflix to deliver commercials. Netflix co-founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings sat on Microsoft Corp.'s board of directors from 2007 to 2012.
Netflix's ad-free basic, standard, and premium subscription tiers will still be available, and the company reassured consumers it is committed to minimizing the privacy issues that often come along with digital ads. In a post about the partnership, Netflix pointed to Microsoft's "strong privacy protections," and in its own post, Microsoft also pledged a commitment to protecting privacy. Netflix stock, which has been struggling, rose 2% on the news. Netflix has been losing subscribers, and warned that it will likely lose even more, underscoring the need for a less expensive subscription tier. The price of the new tier, expected to launch later this year, was not discussed, and the COO says there is still "much to work through." (Read more Netflix stories.)