• December 1, 2022

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The thing about free TV is that, while it has ads, it’s … free. Netflix with ads, however, will not be free, the company announced today when it finally provided details about the long-anticipated ad-supported version of the most popular streaming long-form video platform on the planet.

The new Netflix tier is called Basic With Ads, and it’s launching in 12 countries in November for $6.99 US. Basic with Ads joins existing Basic, Standard, and Premium plans, and includes:

  • Almost all of Netflix in terms of shows, but not all
  • Some movies and TV shows won’t be available due to licensing restrictions
  • 720P video quality, not 1080P or 4K
  • Permitted use on one device at a time (can be a phone, tablet, computer, or TV)
  • 4-5 minutes of ads per hour which will play both before and during content
  • 15-30 second unskippable ad units (you also can’t fast forward during ads)
  • Ads will be targeted by country and type of show you’re watching, but also what Netflix knows about you (for example: age, gender, location, and what you watch on Netflix)
  • Ads will not be shown on kids’ profiles
  • No ads will show during Netflix games
  • No ability to download shows for offline viewing, like on a flight or trip to the no-internet-here cabin

Genuine question: will the number of people watching on kids’ accounts grow as a means to avoid ads? I guess we’ll see.

“We’re confident that with Netflix starting at $6.99 a month, we now have a price and plan for every fan,” Greg Peters, Netflix Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Officer said in a statement. “While it’s still very early days, we’re pleased with the interest from both consumers and the advertising community — and couldn’t be more excited about what’s ahead. As we learn from and improve the experience, we expect to launch in more countries over time.”

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It’s probably true that Netflix has a price and plan for most fans, but not all if you want good old-fashioned free TV.

Granted, that’s rare today given that most people pay either for cable, satellite, or streaming services — or some combination of those three — plus of course internet access fees. But some still get terrestrial TV for free: in the UK, for example, people can get 70 free-to-air standard channels, 15 HD channels and around 30 radio services over digital terrestrial TV. There are hundreds of TV stations still broadcasting over the air in the US as well.

For streamers or those considering it, $7 is not onerous, and probably neither is 4-5 minutes of ads per hour. And the ability to watch what you want when you want is also worth something. Of course, as we’ve seen with other media, the percentage of time and space allocated to advertising seems to inevitably creep upwards.

The question now is: will other streaming services like Disney+ and HBO Max start to follow suite with their own cheaper ad-supported services?

Basic with Ads will be available in these countries at launch:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Mexico
  • Spain
  • UK
  • USA
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