The rising price of a Netflix subscription over the past few years has led to complaints and even lawsuits from customers — and a loss in growth for the popular streaming service. Back in April, the company announced a remedy: an ad-supported subscription tier, similar to those offered by competitors like Hulu, HBO Max and Paramount+. It looks like that tier is rolling out for Netflix in a matter of weeks, and will cost $6.99 per month.
Netflix announced yesterday that the Basic with Ads plan is set to launch on Nov. 3 at 12 p.m. Eastern in the U.S. and 11 other countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain and the U.K. Current plans and memberships won’t change, so Netflix’s existing ad-free Basic, Standard, and Premium plans remain options.
What Will Netflix’s Ad-Supported Tier Be Like?
The new plan offers HD video quality of up to 720p, just like the Basic plan, and will include an average of 4-5 minutes of ads per hour, according to the company. Ads will be 15-30 seconds each and will play before and during content, but not after. Netflix has also confirmed that ads will not play during many children’s shows, and it will avoid putting commercials in new movies for now as well.
Basic with Ads tier members also won’t have the ability to download titles for offline viewing, and they may also have access to fewer movies and TV shows, due to licensing restrictions, but Netflix says it is working to remedy that.
The move is a major shift for Netflix. Although people have been asking for a cheaper, ad-supported option for years, co-chief executive Reed Hastings said in 2017 that his company wasn’t prepared to compete with big players in the ad-supported market, like Facebook and Google. However, as the industry has matured, he has changed his mind.
“Those who have followed Netflix know that I’ve been against the complexity of advertising and a big fan of the simplicity of subscription,” Hastings said, according to TechCrunch. “But as much as I’m a fan of that, I’m a bigger fan of consumer choice.”
The timing is on point. Netflix reported a loss of 200,000 subscribers during the first quarter of 2022 — its first significant loss in more than a decade. Then, in July, it reported another subscriber loss of 970,000, while gaining around 220 million subscribers overall.
Right now, the Basic Netflix plan currently costs $9.99 and allows just one user at a time. The Standard plan costs $15.49 and allows two users to stream at a time, while the $19.99 Premium tier allows four at once. Unfortunately, the company no longer offers a 30-day free trial to new users, so if you are interested in trying it out, the new ad-supported tier might be the best entry point.