After rumblings of an ad-supported, basic membership tier for Netflix first surfaced a few months ago, they’ve now come to fruition. The streaming service has announced its new, ad-supported Netflix Basic option, starting at $6.99 USD (via: The Verge).
This new tier, which is the cheapest of the offerings, will deliver a sub-HD streaming resolution of a mere 720p.
As of November 3, 2022, users will be able to select this membership option if they’re watching in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, or the United States.
The limited number of countries (albeit with very large populations), suggests that more countries will gain access to this new tier overtime.
As far as the ad-breaks go, they will be the standard 15-30 seconds in duration. Speaking of “breaks”, there are some more caveats about this new membership option which may help to make or break your decision.
Not every show on Netflix will be available to ad-supported Basic viewers; Netflix blames this on “licensing restrictions” that it’s working out. Currently, there’s no specific timeline for when those agreements will be ironed out.
In addition to this, Basic users cannot download anything to their devices. So, you’ll be capped to streaming only, along with not being able to push the resolution beyond 720p. While this resolution gate won’t be very noticeable on small displays like smartphones and tablets, larger monitors and certainly TVs will output a fairly crunchy-looking final image by modern standards. Of course, the visual artefacts associated with streaming won’t help, either.
Much like the other membership options, this initial price for Netflix Basic is subject to change in the future; the company confirmed this likelihood during its recent press conference. The streaming service found itself in hot water a few months ago when it increased the price of the original Basic tier to $9.99 (USD), Standard to $15.49 (USD) and Premium ($19.99).
The ad-supported basic subscription option is the company’s latest ploy to try and swing customers back into its realm. With the advent of a variety of other streaming services in recent years like Disney+ and HBO Max, Netflix has found it increasingly more difficult to keep customers loyal.
The more streaming services there are, the less people are willing to keep dumping cash out each month to have access to all of them. Thus, a less expensive tier, despite its many limitations, may be just what it takes to either attract vaguely-interested customers who merely want to dabble in Netflix’s offerings, or those who always wanted to join, but couldn’t justify the cost. Time will tell as to just how effective this new tier will prove to be with boosting the service’s userbase.
Credit: The Verge