Netflix has launched its new subscription plan called “Basic plan with ads” worldwide. Now, it’s the cheapest plan available on the platform, priced at €5.49 / MXN$99 per month, which may appeal to those looking to save as the cost of living continues to rise.
However, I’ve had a chance to test this new plan and there are a few things you should keep in mind before you think about reducing your streaming costs .
One of the biggest drawbacks is the limited library on offer, which Netflix claims is due to licensing issues. While you still have Netflix Originals like Stranger Things and The Witcher , 5-10% of third-party titles are missing, and some might turn you off.
Here are some of the series only available on the most premium plans in the UK:
- The Office
- The Good Place
- Arrested Development
- It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
- House of Cards
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
On the other hand, here are some of the movies that are missing from the Basic plan with ads:
- The wolf of Wall Street
- Damn bastards
- Forget about me!
- The green Mile
- The life of Brian from Monty Python
These lists will vary depending on where you are in the world. US subscribers with the new plan will miss out on some of the older lists, as well as titles like Peaky Blinders , New Girl , Skyfall , and Morbius .
These titles have a lock icon at the top right. Clicking on them takes Netflix to a screen that gives you the option to upgrade to Netflix Basic, Standard, or Premium.
At the time of this writing, it is unclear if these titles will change. The Netflix library acquires new content regularly, so there is a chance that new additions may not be available to Basic with Ads subscribers.
Netflix COO Greg Peters told reporters in a briefing that the company is “going to work to reduce that over time” but has not given a specific timescale or target number of series. and movies that will continue to be absent in the future.
But what about the ads themselves? Well, they’re certainly not as intrusive as other streaming sites I’ve used, such as the Channel 4 streaming service or ITV Hub, but they can still be annoying if you’ve been enjoying the luxury of ad-free streaming on Netflix for a while. weather.
During one episode of Friends (which is just over 20 minutes long), there were two pre-ads at the beginning and then a mid-air ad break with three different ads. Each ad lasted 30 seconds and none could be fast-forwarded or skipped.
For its part, the pilot episode of Stranger Things (which lasts about 40 minutes) returned to present two previous commercials, in addition to two commercial breaks spaced throughout the episode. The first break was for two ads, while the second was only for one.
In the last episode of the fourth season (which runs a whopping 2 hours and 19 minutes), the number of ads was the same as in the first episode. However, the duration of some of the ads increased to 75 seconds.
The ads aren’t necessarily placed in obvious spots, either, so the interruptions are noticeable. Even on a show like Friends (which has natural spaces where the ads would run when they were on TV), the ads don’t run at just the right time.
There are also some bugs in the web version, although ironically they ended up being to my benefit. After testing this feature on a few episodes and movies, the ads disappeared completely. This happened in Breaking Bad , Blade Runner 2049 , and some episodes of Friends , but it didn’t happen on my TV or in the mobile app.
There’s also nothing stopping you from fast forwarding to the ads, watching them all at once, and then rewinding to the beginning. Once you’ve watched something once, Netflix won’t make you watch it again.
However, Netflix has taken steps in other areas. If you click another tab on your PC/laptop, or minimize a window when the ad is playing, the video will stop immediately, as it wants you to keep your eyes on the screen for whatever perfume/outdoor gear/tech product is coming your way. is selling Netflix.
However, Netflix does not do the same when the TV series or movie in question is playing.
I’ve found a solution to this by using multi-window mode on my laptop, so I can do other things (like writing this article) while the ad is running.
Also, according to Variety , the new plan doesn’t work with Apple TV devices at the time of its launch, but it is “coming soon,” according to a company spokesperson. Variety thinks this could be due to the accelerated release of the new plan, which could also explain the bugs I found.
As with the Basic plan, you only get 720p streaming quality. The drop in quality is especially noticeable on the big screen, but it is true that I am used to the sharp 4K image of Netflix Premium.
Those who upgrade to the ad-supported plan from the ad-free Basic plan or those with older TVs won’t really notice the difference.
Another downside to this cheap tier is that you won’t be able to download any content, which completely eliminates the ability to watch it offline.
Ultimately, Netflix’s Basic plan with ads causes mixed feelings. While the ads aren’t as annoying as some rivals, the number of hugely popular series and movies missing doesn’t justify the €5.49 / MXN$99 price tag.
If the streaming service manages to find a solution to all of this in the coming months (as it claims it will), then it may become a more attractive option.
However, with other platforms offering better ad-free experiences for not much more per month, it remains a tough sell for the king of streaming .