Netflix with ads could get even worse for anime fans

Netflix on TV with remote control in foreground
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Netflix with ads gives people a cheaper way to get access to the best Netflix shows and the range of ‘Originals’ series and movies the streamer offers. But for anime fans it may have a serious catch. 

According to The Japan Times (opens in new tab), the addition of an ad tier has the knock-on effect of seeing Japan’s broadcasting network NHK (Nippon Housou Kyoukai) request Netflix purges 22 anime titles that were previously aired by NHK, from its service. 

As CBR (opens in new tab) reports, this is down to NHK’s standards for internet services, whereby it has a policy that prohibits licensors of its content from distributing it when there’s a chance that it could be misconstrued as a form of recommendation for a product or a service. Apparently, Netflix's “Basic with Ads” subscription tier would be against NHK’s approach to internet services. 

If Netflix can’t come to an agreement with NHL, it could see the streamer lose access to the likes of Attack on Titan and Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun, which are popular anime series Netflix currently distributes. And if this does happen it may also apply to Netflix as a whole, not just the ad tier. That would be a blow to anime fans, especially newer ones to the genre who had their interest piqued thanks to Netflix. 

All that being said, this isn't a great time for another problem for the big red streaming machine.

A statement from Netflix, as CBR reports, says NHK was aware of the ad-supported subscription tier and agreed to it. But as of November 16, the streamer stopped showing ads on NHK programs. And NHK claimed Netflix didn’t explain the ad-supported service clearly. Neither Netflix or NHK have announced which of the latter’s 22 anime shows could be affected if negotiations fall apart. 

If NHK does have Netflix pull its anime shows, then don’t despair as the likes of Attack on Titan can be found on Hulu. And the anime-centric Crunchyroll will premier NHK’s second season of Vinland in January. 

Analysis: Netflix doesn't need another headache right now

All that being said, this isn't a great time for another problem for the big red streaming machi rank very highly well on the streaming service. But itplug pulled on them much earlier than expected — often before the shows debuted.  

Yes, Stranger Things Season 4 won back plenty of viewers, and Netflix's true crime documentaries rank very highly well on the streaming service. But its reputation is definitely on the line.

But when the competition gets tighter, with Disney Plus offering the stellar Andor, Apple TV Plus sporting Severance. And those are just two of the newer streaming services — which are still growing in size and coming into their own.

Netflix, HBO, Prime logos on tablet

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Over on the more established players of the best streaming services, big-budget shows are attracting tons of eyes. HBO Max boasted House of the Dragon, and that's not even its best show of the last year. 

Then there's Amazon Prime Video, which brought out The Rings of Power, with a lot of bluster. Is it good? That depends, as our own Malcolm McMillan wrote how Rings of Powers' major problems alienate fans.

That's not to say Netflix is down and out, always offering plenty to watch this weekend. Oh, and it's about to get Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery — which we think will be better on Netflix than in theaters.

But as Tom's Guide senior editor for streaming Henry T. Casey has argued, Netflix with ads feels half-baked.

Next: HBO Max vs Hulu: Which $1.99 Black Friday streaming deal wins?

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.