After a long-awaited wait, streaming giant Netflix will finally roll out its ad-supported tier, and what’s more, it will not burn a big hole in your pockets. Coming to you next month, the new Basic with Ads tier will be available for users in the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, and the UK for just $6.99 (₹149) per month.
Once it rolls out from November 3, the tier will continue to exist alongside Netflix’s current tiers – Basic (costs $9.99/month), Standard (costs 15.49/month), and Premium (costs $19.99 per month). Spain will get the new tier from November 10.
The Basic with Ads tier is not dissimilar to the Basic (without ads) one – the new one will let users watch a plethora of films and TV shows and play games in exchange for having to watch an average of four to five minutes of ads per hour.
The duration of each advertisement will be in the range of 15-30 seconds and will be placed both before and during programs. Netflix will also offer broad targeting capabilities by country and genre so that advertisers can prevent ads from appearing on the content they deem unsuitable or inconsistent with their brand. In the beginning, Netflix’s ad space will not be auctioned off – it will be sold with a fixed-price model – and the company claims that “hundreds of advertisers worldwide” have already purchased most of its initial inventory.
Additionally, users will be able to watch the titles on a wide range of TV and mobile devices (one at a time). However, there are certain differences – viewers will not be able to access Netflix’s entire catalogue; the streaming giant said that some films and TV shows will not be available to the Basic with Ads tier due to licensing restrictions, and it is currently working on the issue. Users will not be able to download any titles either, and video quality is capped at 720p / HD (for now).
“In short, Basic with Ads is everything people love about Netflix, at a lower price, with a few ads in-between,” Netflix wrote in a blog post, adding that the new tier represented “an exciting opportunity for advertisers — the chance to reach a diverse audience, including younger viewers who increasingly don’t watch linear TV, in a premium environment with a seamless, high-resolution ads experience.”
The streaming giant described the new tier as “pro-consumer” during a press conference, explaining how its internal content tagging teams were tasked with finding natural breakpoints in various shows and films to place commercials in. Netflix is also working with Nielsen in the US to provide advertisers with rating data and enable them to understand how Netflix can reach their target audience. They will come out next year and will be published via Nielsen One.
It remains to be seen whether the new ad-supported tier turns out to be the X-factor that Netflix was missing during the first two quarters of the year. It lost 200K subscribers in the first quarter of the year, before losing a further 970K in the second quarter. The fact that it is less expensive than the ad-supported tiers of several rival streaming services – Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max – may work in its favor as well.