Netflix confirms 'Basic with Ads' price and availability – and it's not great news

Netflix library
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix has confirmed pricing and availability for its ad-supported subscription tier, which it announced in April in partnership with Microsoft.

The Netflix Basic Ad Tier will launch on the 3rd November in the UK and US and cost £4.99 and $6.99 per month respectively. It will launch in Australia on the 4th November for a monthly cost of AU$6.99. This is broadly in line with rumours that have circled in the past months.

That undercuts the current (ad-free) 'Basic' tier by £2, $3 and AU$4 per month.

The new subscription plan will also be available in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Spain.

Netflix Basic Ad Tier

(Image credit: Netflix)

So, what will you need to sacrifice for that saving? Well, predominantly you will have to put up with seeing ads. More specifically, four to five minutes of ads per hour on average, each 15 to 30 seconds in length and playing before and during TV shows and movies. New release movies likely won't have mid-break ads, though.

Basic Ad Tier subscribers won't be able to download titles either – a benefit of every other Netflix tier – and "a limited number" (approximately 5 to 10 per cent) of movies and TV shows will not be available, which Netflix says is due to licensing restrictions. It does, however, emphasise that this is something "which we’re working on", so a compromised catalogue could well be short-lived.

Where it mirrors the Basic tier is in its 720p HD video quality support. As with the other Netflix tiers, the subscription can be changed or cancelled at any time – so you aren't locked into a fixed-term contract – and viewing is across laptops, tablets, mobiles and TVs, limited to one screen viewing at one time.

These adverts will be broadly targeted to audiences based on country, genre and –later – the gender and date of birth provided by the subscriber upon sign-up, and the idea is that ads won't be repetitive. In a presentation to journalists (which is available to watch in the YouTube clip below), Greg Peters, Netflix's Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Officer, said that its internal content tagging team has been working hard to ensure mid-content ads are placed at "natural break points" to limit their disruption to viewing.

Two examples of ad reels (one before a show/film and one during) can be viewed from the 5:30-minute mark of the below clip, too.

A November launch will predate the 8th December release date of a $7.99 per month ad tier in the US by arch-rival Disney Plus.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.