Netflix May Have Removed Its Cheapest Ad-Free Plan for Existing Subscribers in Select Markets

Netflix removed its Basic ad-free plan for new subscribers in the US and the UK last year. Prior to the discontinuation, it was the cheapest way for subscribers to watch content on Netflix without ads. Now, the change is said to be introduced for existing users too, according to claims on social media. This development comes amidst reports that the video-streaming service may introduce a free but ad-supported plan in select regions.

Basic Plan Discontinued

In a post on the Netflix subreddit, user @MeltedInk8624 shared a screenshot showing a notification from Netflix requesting them to switch plans. The Basic plan appears to be missing from the list, with the ‘Standard with ads’ plan being the most affordable option to watch Netflix, priced at $6.99 (roughly Rs. 580) per month.

Captioning the post, the user wrote, “So you’re telling me that even after getting a plan that’s paid monthly, they locked certain shows behind a paywall??! Im [sic] already paying for this service why do I need to pay more?!”

If users do not wish to watch ads, they can subscribe to the more expensive Standard or Premium plans, priced at $15.49 (roughly Rs. 1,300) and $ 22.99 (roughly Rs. 1,900) per month, respectively, in the US. While the Standard plan offers streaming in Full HD with support for watching on two devices simultaneously, Premium plan subscribers can watch on up to four devices together in 4K.

Netflix says the ad-supported plan is its most popular option among users. According to Amy Reinhard, Netflix’s President of Advertising, this ad-based plan currently has 40 million active users globally, compared to the 5 million user mark last year. Furthermore, in countries where it is available, 40 percent of all Netflix’s sign-ups come from the ad-supported plan.

The Basic plan is still visible to existing Netflix subscribers in India, which may suggest that the change hasn’t been introduced in the country yet.

Free Netflix Plan

This development comes amidst a report that Netflix may introduce an ad-supported free-to-watch plan in certain regions. The video-streaming platform is said to have discussed offering a free plan in Asian and European markets where other TV networks also have free plans. The report suggested that this move aimed at increasing the streaming platform’s audience, citing people familiar with the matter.

If it indeed does launch, it would be the second time that Netflix will experiment with free-to-watch plans, following the introduction of a similar plan in Kenya in 2021 for Android smartphones. However, this plan was rolled back a year later.

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