It’s come, the day Netflix told us it would never come: Netflix with ads is real.
The streamer’s cheapest, ad-supported subscription tier has officially arrived in the US, UK, and Australia, having launched in Canada on November 1. Called Netflix Basic with Ads, the new plan costs $6.99 / £4.99 / AU$6.99 a month, and grants access to (almost) all of the platform’s movies and TV shows in exchange for tolerating up to five minutes of ads per hour.
We say ‘almost everyone’ because Netflix confirmed (opens in new tab) that a “limited number” of programs are unavailable at the new ad-supported tier due to licensing restrictions. Don’t panic though: you’ll still have all the best Netflix shows and the 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 that’s the price you pay for paying a lower price (hell, 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 cheaper tier of the streamer as a completely new Netflix subscriber. We also shared our initial thoughts on the cost-effectiveness that Netflix Basic with Ads brings to the streaming table.
The steps required 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, go to Netflix. with (opens in new tab) and register with your email, date of birth and gender to make one. You will 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 already have a Netflix account and want to switch to Basic with Ads, the process is just as simple.
First, log into your Netflix account on your laptop or tablet and navigate to your profile. Select Account and scroll down to Plan Details, where you will see the Change Plan option.
Click Change Plan and you’ll see the list of available subscription levels – which now include Basic with Ads – appear. Select Continue and confirm your changes.
It’s worth noting that while changes to higher-tier Netflix plans are effective immediately, changes to lower-priced plans won’t take effect until your next billing date. In other words, your account won’t show ads right away if you decide to make the change – you can continue to enjoy the benefits of a higher price plan until your next payment date.
Should you subscribe to Basic with ads?
Needless to say, the value of switching to this lower-priced Netflix plan will depend on your personal circumstances.
Sure, it’s not a particularly appealing proposition knowing that your Netflix movies and TV shows will be interrupted by up to five minutes of ads an hour if you subscribe – but the fact remains that this is the cheapest Netflix subscription we’ve ever seen.
For $6.99 / £4.99 / AU$6.99 a month, you can still eat things like 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, driven primarily by its desire to improve its results, but the move also provides more choice for customers who prefer to pay much less for Netflix at the expense of ad-free viewing (e.g. comparison, The streamer’s top tier subscription tier currently costs $19.99 / £15.99 / AU$22.99).
It’s also important to note that the price of existing Netflix subscriptions remains – at least for now – the same as it was before Basic with Ads was launched. There’s no obligation on you to switch to the cheaper, ad-supported Netflix plan if you don’t want to.
Business is business, and Netflix will likely raise its subscription prices again in 2023, but as things stand 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 money. access to your favorite programs.
We’ll have a more comprehensive understanding of (and opinion on) the new Netflix plan once we’ve spent some time trying out Basic with Ads for ourselves. For now, though, we’re inclined to recommend it to those who want to enjoy – or continue to enjoy – the streamer’s award-winning programming for the monthly price of an expensive coffee.