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Netflix turning off cheaper ad-free tier, asking users to choose new plan

Netflix is following through on its plans to turn off the cheapest ad-free subscription tier in its line-up in (and beyond) the UK.

The streaming giant is serving users with on-screen notifications informing them of the last day of viewing via the Basic subscription unless they upgrade.

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Subscribers are being asked to choose a new plan, either the cheaper Basic With Ads, or the more expensive Standard or Premium plans.

Subscribers have taken to Reddit to complain that they’re unable to watch for the last few weeks of their subscription unless they choose a new plan now. That seems somewhat illegal and we’ve been unable to verify that that is the case. We have contacted Netflix to establish what is happening here.

Can't finish Netflix
Image credit: BritestBowlingBall on Netflix

In the case of Brits, users are being told their £7.99 a month Basic plan has been discontinued and will need to pay £3 a month more to avoid ads.

That does include the benefit of 1080p video, 2 devices at the same time and 2 download devices. They’ll also be able to fall back on the £4.99 a month Basic with Ads tier that’ll save them £3 a month on the previous tier, but does come with commercial interruption.

For Canadian subscribers, who are also receiving the notifications about their last viewing day, the potential increase is significantly higher – from $9.99 CAD for Basic, to $16.49 for Standard. Basic with Ads saves them $4.

Netflix confirmed its plans to ditch the Basic without Ads in January 2024, saying it would happen within a few months. The plan hasn’t been available to new subscribers since well before that confirmation.

Netflix confirmed the plans at an earnings call in early 2024. It said: “The ads plan now accounts for 40% of all Netflix sign-ups in our ads markets and we’re looking to retire our Basic plan in some of our ads countries, starting with Canada and the UK in Q2 and taking it from there. On the advertiser side, we continue to improve the targeting and measurement we offer our customers.”

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