Netflix Is Phasing Out the Ad-Free Plan

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By: ScreenGawk Staff | Published: Feb 04, 2024

As one of the most popular streaming sites on the planet, Netflix currently has more than 247.2 million paid subscribers.

The Netflix App logo is seen on a television screen

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Since 2008, when Netflix started offering its streaming services, one of its customers’ favorite features has been the fact that there are absolutely no advertisements on the platform. But that’s about to change.

Understanding Netflix’s Subscriptions

Previously, Netflix only had two subscription options: Standard and premium. Both plans provided unlimited access to ad-free content, but premium had special features such as multi-screen viewing and HD resolution.

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Screenshot of Netflix’s new subscription plans

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But now, Netflix has announced that there will be three options: Basic with ads, ad-free standard, and Premium. For those who live in the USA, the monthly fees will be $7, $15.50, and $23, respectively.

Basic with Ads Was Released in 2022

In 2022, for the first time ever, Netflix offered its customers the “Basic with Ads” package for only $7. As the standard and premium subscription costs were rising, the company wanted to find out if people were willing to pay less and sit through ads while they streamed.

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Screenshot explaining Netflix Basic with Ads package

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Over the past couple of years, it was still an option for customers to opt for the “Basic Ad-Free” plan for only a few dollars more. But now, Netflix is making a big change.

Netflix’s Basic Ad-Free Subscription Won’t Be Available for Everyone

As of July 2023, new Netflix subscribers in the UK and the US were unable to sign up for the platform’s basic ad-free option. They could only select basic with ads or pay almost double for the standard ad-free option.

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In this photo illustration, a TV remote control with a Netflix button

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And Netflix just announced that during the second quarter of 2024, they will be removing the basic ad-free package from all existing customers in the UK and Canada.

Netflix CEO Greg Peters Promoted the Ad-Supported Subscription

On an earnings call last week, Netflix CEO Greg Peters explained that while the new basic package does have advertisements, they’ve also added a few features to make it better than the original basic ad-free option.

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Headshot of Netflix CEO Greg Peters

Source: Netflix

The new basic ad-supported plan offers two streams, downloads, and even better video quality than the ad-free basic subscription.

Netflix Is Adding Several New Features to the Platform

There’s no question Netflix’s announcement that they’re phasing out the basic ad-free subscription isn’t great news for customers. However, the company wants people to understand that they’re simultaneously adding several new features that they hope will soften the blow.

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John Cena attends the WWE Monday Night Raw at the Frank Erwin Center

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From video games to live sports, Netflix won’t just be TV shows and movies anymore. In fact, Netflix just finalized a deal with the WWE, so as of 2025, customers will be able to watch Monday Night Raw live every week.

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Tennis, Golf, and Maybe Even Football

Netflix is already planning on streaming a live tennis match between Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal in March. And that’s just the beginning.

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Rafael Nadal of Spain competes against Alex De Minaur of Australia during day five of the 2023 United Cup

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From golf tournaments to football, Netflix is going to have a wide variety of live sports in the very near future.

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How Do Netflix’s New Plans Compare to Other Platforms?

Netflix certainly isn’t the only streaming platform making big changes to its subscription prices and offerings.

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Peacock from NBCUniversal logo in black

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Peacock from NBCUniversal has been exclusively playing some of the NFL playoff games this year, which has increased subscriptions but caused a bit of controversy. However, Peacock remains the most affordable streaming service. An ad-supported premium plan costs only $5.99 per month, while the ad-free premium is just $11.99.

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Netflix Is Still Cheaper than Hulu

While Netflix’s basic ad-supported option is now $6.99 per month, it’s still cheaper than Hulu’s identical package, which costs $7.99.

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The Hulu media service provider's logo is displayed on the screen of a television

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However, Hulu’s ad-free option is slightly more expensive than Netflix’s at $17.99 per month instead of $15.50.

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The SAG-AFTRA Agreement May Be Playing a Role in the New Pricing

It’s important to note that all streaming platforms are increasing their monthly subscription plans this year. And while inflation is certainly part of the reason, the SAG-AFTRA agreement is undoubtedly playing a role.

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Marchers at the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strike on September 13, 2023, at Netflix

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After the SAG-AFTRA strikes last year, an agreement was met that ensured writers and actors will be paid more per stream. Therefore, streaming platforms need to increase subscription prices to ensure their profits don’t suffer.

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When Should Americans Expect Their Netflix Subscription to Change?

Understanding the changes in Netflix’s subscription plans has been a little confusing for customers.

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People watching TV in a living room

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Currently, the ad-supported option for $6.99 is an option in the USA and a requirement for new members. However, while the company announced that all existing member’s subscription options will change within the next few months in the UK and Canada, they have not said when the change will affect American subscribers.

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It’s Unlikely These Changes Will Lose Netflix Customers

Although some people may be frustrated with Netflix’s changes, it’s quite unlikely that any existing subscribers will leave Netflix because of them.

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General views of Netflix in Hollywood, California

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There will still be a budget-friendly option; it just comes with advertisements. And since every other streaming platform now has almost the same subscription choices, there’s no real reason to switch.

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