StrangerThingsone of Netflix’s biggest shows.” Enlarge / A still from Stranger Things, one of Netflix’s biggest shows.
Netflix today launched Basic with Ads, its previously announced ad-supported subscription tier, in the US and several other countries. At $6.99 monthly, it’s the cheapest Netflix subscription option, but it comes with some notable trade-offs.
Countries where you can get Basic with Ads today include the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Japan, Korea and Brazil; it was first launched in Canada and Mexico two days ago.
Basic with Ads subscribers see up to five minutes of ads per hour, including ads that play before episodes and some that play in the middle of them – what the industry calls these “pre-roll” and “mid-roll” respectively. Roll” ads. Netflix Says Certain Movies Will Only Have Pre-Roll Ads
However, ads won’t be the only limitations in this cheaper subscription tier. Basic with Ads only streams to one device at a time and does not support downloading videos for viewing on airplanes or other times when you don’t have internet access.
Subscribers won’t be able to stream at resolutions higher than 720p, which is pretty low for almost everyone today in the age of affordable 50-inch or larger TVs. Also, specific details of the license agreement mean that up to 10 percent of Netflix’s library is unavailable at this tier.
Many competing streaming services have already launched lower-priced ad-supported options, including HBO Max, Peacock, and Paramount+, among others.
Mega-hit Disney+ plans to follow suit in just a few weeks with its own ad-supported tier that will cost $1 more than the just-launched Netflix. Disney+ will also increase the prices of its other tiers, but Netflix isn’t currently doing so, although it has done so many times in the past.
Netflix has long resisted introducing an ad-supported tier, but the company continues to face an uphill financial battle as it spends heavily on content but with obstacles such as sharply increased competition from newly launched streaming services and user behaviors like sharing passwords.