New shows, with a side of fried ads.
After rumors of an ad-supported basic membership level for Netflix first surfaced a few months ago, they have now come true. The streaming service has announced its basic Netflix option, starting at $6.99 USD (via: The Verge).
This new tier, which is the cheapest of the offerings, will offer a sub-HD streaming resolution of just 720p, with the addition of running ads while you watch your content.
Beginning November 3, 2022, users will be able to select this option if they are viewing 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 over time.
As for the commercial breaks, they will have a standard duration of 15 to 30 seconds. Speaking of “breaks”, there are some plus caveats about this membership option that can help make or break your decision.
Not all Netflix shows will be available to basic viewers; Netflix blames this on “licensing restrictions” it is ironing out. Currently, there is no specific timeline as to when these will be resolved.
Apart from this, basic users cannot download anything on their devices. So you’ll only be able to stream, plus you won’t be able to increase the resolution beyond 720p. While this resolution gate won’t be very noticeable on small screens like smartphones and tablets, larger monitors and certainly TVs will render a fairly crisp final image by modern standards. Of course, the visual artifacts associated with streaming won’t help either.
Like the other membership options, this starting price for Netflix Basic is subject to change in the future; the company confirmed this probability during its recent press conference. The streaming service ran into trouble 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 basic ad-supported subscription option is the company’s latest ploy to try to get customers to return to its domain. With the advent of a variety of other streaming services in recent years, such as Disney+ and HBO Max, Netflix is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain customer loyalty.
The more streaming services there are, the fewer people are willing to keep spending money every month to get access to all of them. So a less expensive tier, despite its many limitations, may be just what’s needed to attract vaguely interested customers who just want to dabble in Netflix’s offerings, or those who’ve always wanted to join but can’t. They were able to justify the cost. Time will tell how effective this new tier will be in growing the service’s user base.
Credit: The Verge