Ads. They suck and no one likes them unless it’s the Super Bowl. However, they’re also how much of entertainment pays for things (thanks for my paycheck, ads and Escapist supporters). Speaking of paying for things, Netflix needs to do that because it spends a lot of money and it’s running out of price hikes to do so. You can see where this is going, right? Netflix has announced its long-rumored ad-based subscription tier, Basic with Ads, and it’s coming in at $6.99 a month.
The Basic with Ads Netflix tier will launch on November 1 in Mexico and Canada, on November 3 in the US, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, and the UK, and on November 10 in Spain. It is launching about a month before Disney+ enters into the ad realm on December 8, where Disney+ will notably be charging a slightly more expensive $7.99. The two biggest streamers are starting what will probably be a blitz towards ad-based subscriptions, showing what the future of streaming could be.
So, how will ads work on Netflix this basic subscription? Well, if you like 1080p shows but want to pay less, you’re out of luck. As the “Basic” in the name implies, the ad subscription is only available at the basic level, which gives viewers 720p playback. You can also forget about downloading shows to watch offline, as that isn’t included in Basic either. Shows and movies will have four-to-five minutes of ads in them per hour, though it wasn’t clear how those would be broken up.
However, for bigger, recent marquee movies, the streamer will play all the ads at the beginning “to preserve that sort of cinematic model.” There are also some shows that won’t be featured on Basic with Ads because of contract agreements already in place. It will be 5-10% of the library, though Netflix says it’s trying to work that out and it obviously won’t be any Netflix-owned shows.
Evidently, advertisers are kind of excited about hopping onto the biggest streaming platform on Earth. Netflix says that it has companies lined up to advertise on the platform and everyone is really excited about it. Well, not everyone. The streamer won’t be allowing political ads, ads for guns, ads for smoking, or ads for any products and services Netflix deems illegitimate.
Look, it’s great that there is now a cheaper option for people to subscribe to Netflix if they want to, but it sucks that it’s limited to only one tier, especially since Netflix has been routinely raising its costs. As if folks who have less money don’t deserve to watch things in full HD or couldn’t possibly want to download shows to watch offline. Maybe those ad tiers will be rolled out in the future, but right now if you want to pay less for Netflix, you’ll have to watch crappy Netflix.