Netflix officially launches cheaper ad tier, available 3 November

After months of speculation and previously leaked reports, Netflix has officially announced a cheaper tier with ads. Dubbed Basic with Ads, the streamer’s new lower priced plan will allow subscribers to save a few quid each month in exchanged for watching ads.

It leaves the existing subscription plans on the platform unchanged, but presents a new, more flexible option to viewers. With the plan, you’ll still get most of the features you know and love from Netflix. But there will be a few key differences.

Obviously, the new Basic with Ads plan will introduce advertisements on Netflix. These ads will run for either 15 or 30 seconds, and will show before and during shows and films. Think back to the days of satellite telly (insert audible gasp here). The streamer estimates you’ll only see four to five minutes of ads per hour, which is definitely better than ordinary telly.

Ads will be targeted based on a number of factors, these include country, genre, and other demographic info Netflix collects. The ads will run from a partnership with Microsoft’s ad platform. Advertisers will also be able to restrict their ads from appearing on certain types of content.

An example of a pre-show ad on Netflix. The interface looks somewhat familiar to YouTube ads.

Some other differences on the new, cheaper subscription plan include a maximum video quality of 720p HD, no ability for downloads, and some content will disappear. This means you are losing quite a few of Netflix’s stand-out features, but are saving almost a third of the subscription cost.

The new tier will cost $6.99/£4.99 per month, and will be available for Netflix viewers from 3 November. Existing subscribers will be able to downgrade their plan through the Settings page. Or, new subscribers will be able to select this plan during sign up. The Basic with Ads plan will launch in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, the UK, and the US. 

Netflix’s new tier is bound to be a polarising move. Some viewers will be happy with the option of saving a couple quid per month, especially with current goings-on. Others might question whether the tier is worth the saving, considering all the lost features. And some will agree that this takes away the appeal streaming services brought to the table in the first place. As the new subscription plan rolls out, we’ll find out how popular it is with subscribers. Could this be a Net-fix, or more like Net-kicks?

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