In a long-rumoured announcement, Netflix confirmed that ad-supported plans aren’t just coming – they’re a priority. The streaming service has not yet revealed how much it will cost to subscribe to Netflix with ads, or how many ads users will be shown.
Here’s what we know…
When will Netflix be adding advertisements?
While we don’t have an exact time frame for the release of ad-supported Netflix it seems to be on the horizon. Speaking with AFP, Anne-Gabrielle Dauba-Pantanacce, head of communications for Netflix France, said ‘We don’t have a precise timeline yet… We are actively working on it. It’s a priority – this idea of giving subscribers more options in the context of high inflation.”
We’ll keep you updated on when we have an exact release date, but an internal memo reported by the New York Times indicated executives are aiming to introduce the new tier ‘in the last three months of 2022’. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Netflix is already in talks with Google and Comcast to sell some of the advertising space.
Why are they launching a subscription to Netflix with ads?
The announcement that Netflix is accelerating their ‘Adflix’ launch has come following a difficult start to the year for the world’s biggest streaming service. Not only has Netflix reported a loss in subscriber numbers for the first time in more than a decade, but they are also facing new competition in the UK from services like Paramount +.
One of Netflix’s major competitors, Disney Plus, has also announced an ad-supported tier. A Disney Plus plan with ads will be available in the US by the end of the year, with international options appearing in 2023. HBO Max and Hulu already offer a subscription that shows advertisements in the US. The NBC-operated platform Peacock show some content for free with ads, partnering this with a subscription to access the full library with ads and a premium subscription to watch everything ad-free. With so many of the industry’s major players making the leap, it makes sense that Netflix would follow suit in order to remain competitive,
Another pressure on Netflix will be the fact that they are a household luxury at a time when budgets are tight. With bills at an all-time high, more people are looking to cancel existing subscriptions than add new ones. Netflix’s price increases over the last five years now make them one of the most expensive streaming services available, which is a point against them in a time when people are watching their wallets. A premium Netflix account costs 60% more in 2022 than it did in 2017 at £15.99, whereas an account with Netflix’s biggest competitor Amazon Prime will cost only £7.99 a month and comes with free shipping, Music, and Kindle books and other benefits.
Netflix seems to be aware of this problem, and ad-supported plans are a part of how they are working to offer more options to budget-conscious consumers.
How much will Netflix with ads cost?
With part of the subscription cost being paid for by advertisers, we’d expect the new plans to be the cheapest tiers available when they launch. Just how much cheaper these plans will be is still to be announced, but we can speculate based on similar plans from other services. Ad-supported plans tend to be 25%-50% cheaper than the next tier up and Netflix Basic currently costs £6.99, so we can guess that Netflix with ads will cost between £3.49 and £5.99.
However, Netflix Basic is missing several features that many users would consider essential including HD content and multiple simultaneous users. If Netflix looks to include these features in their plans for Netflix with ads we may see a price based on the £10.99 cost of Netflix Standard, with the ad-supported equivalent costing £5.49 – £7.99. For now, we can only theorise on which features will be included and what the initial monthly cost will be.
Will I start seeing ads?
Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos has confirmed that existing subscriptions won’t be affected, saying “We’re adding an ad tier. We’re not adding ads to Netflix as you know it today.” While it’s comforting to know that you won’t suddenly start seeing ads pop up between episodes of stranger things, customers should watch out to see if the introduction of Netflix with ads also sees the monthly prices for ad-free packages go up.
You should also be aware that these ad-supported plans are initially being launched as a trial and will be coming to the US before other countries. How well the trial goes and how popular these new discounted plans are will determine when the rest of the world will be able to get cheaper Netflix.
What’s the cheapest way to get Netflix?
Depending on your plan, Netflix UK currently costs between £6.99 and £15.99. While there are occasional promotions offered to new subscribers, these usually come in the form of reward vouchers or short free trials, with almost all subscribers paying the same monthly cost. If you love TV, the cheapest way to get a Netflix subscription is by taking a TV package from either Sky or Virgin Media.
Sky is currently offering free Netflix with their signature TV package, and Virgin includes free Netflix with their Ultimate Volt bundle. Either of these packages is more expensive than a stand-alone Netflix subscription, but if you’re looking to subscribe to digital TV already then combining your services is a great way to save.