Netflix’s cheaper, ad-supported plan is live – here’s how to get it
It’s here, the day Netflix told us would never come: Netflix with ads is real.
The streamer’s cheaper, ad-supported subscription tier has officially arrived in the US, UK, and Australia, having rolled out in Canada on November 1. Called Netflix Basic with Ads, the new plan costs $6.99 / £4.99 / AU$6.99 per month, and grants access to (almost) all of the platform’s movies and TV shows in exchange for your tolerating up to five minutes of ads per hour.
We say ‘almost all’ because Netflix has confirmed that a “limited number” of programs are unavailable on the new ad-supported tier due to licensing restrictions. Don’t panic, though: you’ll still have all the best Netflix shows and best Netflix movies at your disposal should you decide to make the switch.
Other caveats include the inability to download content for offline viewing and a 720p cap on video quality – but such is the price you pay for paying a lower price (jeez, that’s a tongue-twister).
Below, we’ll walk you through how to switch to Netflix Basic with Ads from your current Netflix plan or sign up for the streamer’s cheapest tier as a completely new Netflix subscriber. We also share our early thoughts on the value-for-money Netflix Basic with Ads brings to the streaming table.
The steps needed to join Netflix Basic with Ads as a new subscriber are the same as those required to set up any other type of Netflix subscription.
If you’ve never had a Netflix account before, head to Netflix.com and register with your email, date of birth, and gender to make one. You’ll be prompted to create a password and select a payment method, before being given the option to choose your plan: Basic with Ads, Basic, Standard, or Premium.
Select Basic with Ads, and you’re ready to start streaming.
If you’ve already got a Netflix account and want to switch to Basic with Ads, the process is just as simple.
First, sign into your Netflix account on your laptop or tablet and navigate to your profile. Select Account and scroll down to Plan Details, where you’ll see the option to Change Plan.
Hit Change Plan, and you’ll see the list of available subscription tiers – which now include Basic with Ads – appear. Select Continue, then confirm your changes.
It’s worth noting that, while changes to higher-tier Netflix plans take effect immediately, changes to lower-priced plans won’t activate until your next billing date. In other words, your account won’t feature ads immediately if you decide to make the change – you’ll be able to continue enjoying the benefits of a higher-priced plan until your next payment date rolls around.
Should you subscribe to Basic with Ads?
It goes without saying, but the value in switching to this lower-priced Netflix plan will depend on your personal circumstances.
Sure, it’s not a particularly attractive proposition to know that your Netflix movies and TV shows will be interrupted by up to five minutes of ads per hour if you do subscribe – but the fact remains that this is the cheapest Netflix subscription we’ve ever seen.
For $6.99 / £4.99 / AU$6.99 per month, you can still binge the likes of Stranger Things, Squid Game, The Crown, Sex Education, and Bridgerton to your heart’s content – you’ll just have to tolerate seeing a series of 15 to 30-second ads before and during viewing.
Netflix’s decision to embrace ads is, of course, primarily motivated by its desire to improve its bottom line, but the move also offers greater choice for customers who would prefer to pay a lot less for Netflix at the expense of ad-free viewing (for comparison, the streamer’s highest-level subscription tier currently costs $19.99 / £15.99 / AU$22.99).
It’s also important to note that the price of existing Netflix subscriptions remain – for now, at least – the same as they were prior to the launch of Basic with Ads. There’s no obligation for you to make the switch to the cheaper, ad-supported Netflix plan if you don’t want to.
Business is business, and Netflix will likely hike its subscription prices again in 2023, but as things stand right now, it’s hard to criticize the company for introducing a more affordable Netflix plan that will, undoubtedly, help millions of customers save money without losing access to their favorite shows.
We’ll have a more comprehensive understanding of (and opinion on) Netflix’s new plan once we’ve spent some time experiencing Basic with Ads for ourselves. For now, though, we’re inclined to recommend it to those who want to enjoy – or keep enjoying – the streamer’s award-winning programming for the monthly price of an expensive coffee.