It’s here, the day Netflix told us it 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, and rolled out in Canada on November 1. It’s called Netflix Basic with ads, and the new plan costs $6.99 / £4.99 / AU$6.99 a month, giving access to (almost) all of the platform’s movies and TV shows in exchange for tolerating of up to five minutes of ads per hour.
We say ‘almost all’ because Netflix confirmed (opens in new tab) that a “limited number” of programs are not available on the new ad-supported tier due to licensing restrictions. But don’t panic: you still have the best Netflix shows and best Netflix movies at your disposal if you decide to switch.
Other caveats include the inability to download content for offline viewing and a 720p video quality limit – but that’s the price you pay for paying a lower price (jeez, that’s a tongue twister).
Below we show you how to switch from your current Netflix subscription to Netflix Basic with ads or sign up for the cheapest tier of the streamer as a brand new Netflix subscriber. We also share our early thoughts on the value for money Netflix Basic is bringing to the streaming table with ads.
The steps required to join Netflix Basic with Ads as a new subscriber are the same as for setting up any other type of Netflix subscription.
If you’ve never had a Netflix account, visit Netflix.com (opens in new tab) and register with your email address, date of birth and gender to create 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 easy.
First, log in to your Netflix account on your laptop or tablet and navigate to your profile. Select Account and scroll down to Subscription Details, where you will see the option to Change Subscription.
Click Change Subscription 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 take effect immediately, changes to lower-cost plans won’t be activated until your next billing date. In other words, your account will not immediately contain ads if you decide to make the change. You can continue to enjoy the benefits of a more expensive subscription until your next payment date.
Should you subscribe to Basic with ads?
It goes without saying, but the value of switching to this cheaper Netflix plan will depend on your personal circumstances.
Of course, knowing that your Netflix movies and TV shows are interrupted by up to five minutes of ads per hour if you subscribe isn’t all that appealing – but the fact remains that it’s the cheapest Netflix subscription we’ve ever seen. .
For $6.99 / £4.99 / AU$6.99 a month you can still binge Stranger Things, Squid Game, The Crown, Sex Education and Bridgerton to your heart’s content – you’ll just have to tolerate a series of 15 up to 30 second ads before and while viewing.
Netflix’s decision to embrace ads is, of course, primarily driven by a desire to improve performance, but the move also offers more choice for customers who prefer to pay much less for Netflix at the expense of ad-free viewing (for comparison, the subscription to the top tier of the streamer currently costs $19.99 / £15.99 / AU$22.99).
It’s also important to note that the price of existing Netflix subscriptions – at least for now – will remain the same as it was before the launch of Basic with Ads. There’s no obligation 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 fault the company for introducing a more affordable Netflix subscription that will no doubt help millions of customers save money. without losing access to their favorite shows.
We’ll have a more comprehensive understanding (and opinion on) Netflix’s new plan once we experience Basic with Ads for ourselves. For now, though, we’re inclined to recommend it to those looking to enjoy — or continue to enjoy — the streamer’s award-winning programming for the monthly price of an expensive coffee.