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Netflix's ad tier might have another major drawback

Netflix's ad tier may have another drawback
(Image credit: Netflix)

It looks like Netflix's ad tier could have another major drawback. We already know the cheaper subscription will serve up ads and that it won't offer the full content library available with the pricier subs, but it could also eliminate downloads for offline viewing.

According to code within the Netflix iPhone app, downloads won't be available to customers on the ad tier, Bloomberg (opens in new tab) reports. It reads: "Downloads available on all plans except Netflix with ads." It also suggests users won't be able to skip ads.

If true, it seems Netflix is prepping the ad tier as a taster of what's available, hoping it will convince customers to upgrade to the full-fat version with more content and more features.

Currently, Netflix subscribers can download shows and films to watch offline – handy when travelling by plane, say, or going somewhere with patchy internet coverage. This applies to all members, no matter which tier they are on. But those on the ad-supported tier would miss out on this feature, as well as on the full content library that other members can enjoy.

Netflix was recently overtaken by Disney Plus for paying subscribers – a phenomenal achievement, considering the House of Mouse has only been in the streaming business for less than three years. It too will launch an ad tier, but later this year, whereas Netflix's won't land until early 2023.

As ever, pricing will be key if Netflix hopes to wrestle back its streaming crown. How much would you pay for Netflix with ads?

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Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.

  • kdbur
    So Netflix want us to see ads to cover the difference in the ad free tier....and then punish viewers on top of that?

    Personally, I would rather have an option to pay an AppleTV+ fee just for Netflix originals with none of the rest of the fillers.
    Reply