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Netflix hides subscription plan amid ad-based tier struggles


Netflix fans living in countries where a cheaper ad-supported tier has already been introduced have noticed that the company is hiding a slightly more expensive yet superior subscription plan in its selection page.

From November 2022, Netflix viewers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and a number of other countries can access a cheaper subscription plan that costs $6.99 in America, and £4.99 in the UK. Of course, you will have to sit through the occasional ad inserted in the content.

Four subscription plans are now on offer: the aforementioned Basic with Ads, Basic, Standard, and Premium. The latter three include no ads.

However, once you go to the sign-up page, where you can select a tier, it now only shows three plans. The original Basic plan – the one without ads – has disappeared.

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Netflix has hidden Basic plan from the sign-in page. Image by Cybernews.

It’s still there, but further down on the page where the small print directs users to “see our plans.” The original Basic plan is only a couple of dollars more expensive, but, unlike the ad-based tier, allows you to access Netflix’s full catalog and download stuff for offline viewing. Besides, there are no ads.

Maybe it’s just an innocent effort to help people during a cost-of-living crisis. However, experts think Netflix’s Basic with Ads plan is actually struggling, and the company really does want to steer existing members or newcomers to this particular offering.

Netflix is about to report its earnings for the last three months and the 2022 fiscal year on Thursday, and it seems that the initial conclusion is that the ad-supported plan has struggled to attract customers, at least in the heavily-saturated US market, Reuters reports.

The streaming giant had pinned its hopes on the launch of the ad-based tier, but analysts say they have not seen a burst of subscriptions.

In November, only about 9% of Netflix’s US subscriber sign-ups were for the $6.99/month ad-supported package, making it the least popular among its plan options, according to an analysis released by research firm Antenna.

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Only about 9% of Netflix’s US subscriber sign-ups were for the ad-based tier. Courtesy of Antenna.

Besides, Antenna observed a mere 0.1% of Netflix’s existing subscribers in the US switching to the Basic with Ads plan in November.

The company is expected to have added 4.5 million subscribers in the fourth quarter – the lowest addition for the holiday period since 2014. It added 8.3 million subscribers a year ago. The numbers could pressure Netflix to pull back on content spending in 2023.

As Cybernews recently reported, Netflix is about to end password-sharing early this year as it sees the practice as a major problem eating into subscriptions.


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