Netflix subscribers on the service’s low-cost basic plan will soon be forced to switch to a more expensive tier to keep watching without adverts.
Since last year, the streaming service has been chopping away at its basic offering, which costs £7 a month, and is now doing away with it entirely.
“We’re looking to retire our Basic plan in some of our ads countries, starting with Canada and the UK in Q2,” Netflix announced in a letter to shareholders after another bumper quarter of financial results.
That means the no-frills tier is getting the axe between April and the end of June. At which point, existing subscribers will have to choose between the £11 standard plan or the £18 premium plan for ad-free streaming. Or, they could opt for the dreaded standard with ads plan and save a couple of quid by paying £5 a month. At least that way, they can watch shows in full HD instead of settling for a sub-par 720p resolution.
The higher-priced plans, meanwhile, offer the ability to watch and download on multiple devices, and come with higher quality video.
As an alternative, people can ask friends or relatives to add them to their standard or premium account, and pay them a fiver every month for the privilege.
In a bid to usher people towards its ad tier, Netflix began hiding the basic plan on its website in January. By July, it had stopped offering the tier to new customers in the UK and US. The plan appears to have worked, with Netflix recently announcing that 23 million customers are now paying to watch with ads.
Of course, Netflix basic will remain available elsewhere as the company probably can’t risk alienating customers in developing markets, where it already charges far less for its service.
Netflix added 13.1 million global subscribers during the last three months of 2023, the biggest fourth-quarter addition in the company’s history. It now has a total of 260 million customers, making it the biggest streaming service in the world.