Netflix 'Basic with Ads' tier to launch next month

Mike Wheatley

Netflix has announced the pricing and availability of its new, cheapest and ad-supported subscription tier, which has been created in partnership with Microsoft.


The so-called Basic with Ads tier is set to launch in the U.K. and U.S. on November 3 and will cost £4.99 and $6.99 per month, respectively, in those countries. It will also launch in Australia one day later, with a monthly fee of AU$6.99. That is notably cheaper, undercutting the price of the Basic subscription tier by £2, $3 and AU$4 per month, respectively.

In addition, Netflix will also bring the Basic with Ads tier to users in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Spain.

For the cheaper price, subscribers will of course have to be willing to put up with being shown ads on a fairly regular basis. Netflix said there will be between four and five minutes of ads per hour on average, with each one being between 15 and 30 seconds in length. Those ads will show up before, and also during its TV shows and movies. However, new release movies will most probably not have ad breaks, Netflix said.

There are some other restrictions. One of the most significant is that Basic with Ads subscribers will not be able to download movies and shows for offline viewing, which is a major benefit of all the other tiers. There will also be a “limited number” of movies and TV shows that are unavailable to those on the lowest tier, a result of licensing restrictions, Netflix said. This could change though, as Netflix has said this is something it’s apparently working on to resolve. So those missing movies and shows could well become available for Basic with Ads subscribers later.

On the other hand, Basic with Ads subscribers do at least get 720p HD video quality support. Also remember that, users have the ability to cancel or change their subscription at any time, so they won’t be locked into a contract if they decide to check out if ads are worth living with.

With regards to the ads, Netflix said they’ll be targeted to audiences based on their country, genre of content, and later also their gender and date of birth. Netflix has promised the ads won’t get repetitive. Also, Netflix promised that it’s working hard to ensure mid-content ads are timed to pop up at “natural break points” to minimize disruption to viewing.

We’ll see how that goes, and we’ll also get to see if the ability to save a couple of quid a month by making such a sacrifice will really be enough to put a stop to Netflix’s rapidly declining user base.