Netflix’s newest service tier will save you money, but you’ll lose viewing time in the process.
That Netflix is going to introduce ads doesn’t come as a surprise. This past April, CEO Reed Hastings indicated the company would look into offering this cheaper subscription option. However, at the time, the rollout for the ad-supported tier was targeted to debut “over the next year or two.” Now we know it could arrive sometime this fall. Including this option would put Netflix on par with services like Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and Paramount+, all of which have cheaper subscriptions with ad breaks.
That said, the timing of this news isn’t a great look for Netflix, which has announced a number of somewhat anti-consumer policy changes in recent months. Aside from jacking up prices (4K streaming costs $19.99/mo, while other services like HBO include it for free), Netflix also wants to hike up costs for users who share their passwords with other people. The inclusion of a totally optional and cheaper ad-supported version of Netflix isn’t on the same level as that, but the optics of the biggest streaming service suddenly reversing course on ad inclusion aren’t great.
Of course, we all know why Netflix is doing this stuff: The service lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of the year and it expects to lose two million more next quarter. That’s what happens when you let go of shows like Frasier and King of the Hill.