Skip to main content

Netflix is definitely adding a cheaper, ad-supported tier and the suspense is killing us

Ever since the rumors emerged that Netflix was contemplating a cheaper, ad-supported tier for its video-streaming service, we’ve been holding our breath, waiting for the details to fully emerge. And while that still hasn’t happened, we’re now one step closer: Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Co-CEO, confirmed that what was once an idea will soon be a reality.

“We [are] adding an ad tier; we’re not adding ads to Netflix as you know it today. We’re adding an ad tier for folks who say, ‘Hey, I want a lower price and I’ll watch ads,'” Sarandos told a crowd of attendees at the Cannes Lions advertising festival on June 23, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Sarandos’ comments come not long after his co-CEO, Reed Hastings, made a similar statement when he spoke to investors in April. Hastings said “allowing consumers who would like to have a lower price and are advertising-tolerant to get what they want makes a lot of sense.” At that time, Hastings wasn’t clear on what such a plan would look like, and whether or not it would impact the rest of the service’s tiers. Now we know that it will be an additional, cheaper plan, and not a modification of one of the existing plans.

But the crucial details are still frustratingly absent. How much will the new ad-supported tier cost? Just how many ads will people be required to sit through? Will the ads only run between episodes, or will they interrupt longer shows and movies? And when will this new tier launch?

For all of these questions, only the topic of timing has a potential answer. And that could be sometime near the end of 2022, according to a previous report from the New York Times, which cited an internal presentation given to Netflix employees. That timing could certainly materialize as suggested. Netflix recently revealed that it lost 200,000 paying subscribers in the second quarter of 2022, which must be putting the company under considerable pressure to find ways to reverse this trend. But so far, Netflix itself has remained quiet on when it plans to let people sign up for what will be the least expensive way to watch the streaming giant’s content.

Simon Cohen
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial…
Netflix expands its spatial audio, number of devices that can download content
Netflix app icon on Apple TV.

Netflix Premium subscribers are getting an enhancement to their service starting today. The streaming company has increased the number of devices that can download content for offline viewing from four to six. It's also expanding the spatial audio feature it launched in 2022, making spatial audio available on its top 700 titles. The new features are included in the current price of a Premium plan.

Spatial audio on Netflix is similar to Dolby Atmos -- it creates a much more immersive, 3D-like audio experience where sounds feel like they're moving independently of the rest of the soundtrack. However, unlike Dolby Atmos, Netflix's spatial audio can be experienced on any device that has stereo speakers whether they are Dolby Atmos-capable or not.

Read more
Netflix launches new low-cost tier — here’s how to get it
Netflix app icon on Apple TV.

Netflix has launched its new low-cost subscription plan, Basic With Ads.

The new plan costs $7 a month, $3 less than the next cheapest plan, Basic, which costs $10 a month.

Read more
Netflix to crack down on password sharing starting in 2023
Netflix app icon on Apple TV.

Following pilot programs in several Latin American countries earlier this year, Netflix has decided to crack down on password sharing globally.

It’ll do this by charging a little bit extra to the main account holder for each user who’s accessing that account but living in a different household. The additional fee hasn’t been revealed yet, but if it’s similar to the pilot programs, then account holders should expect to pay around $3 per month to include up to two people who live outside their household.

Read more