June 10, 2023

A Netflix plan with ads was made official earlier this year. Now, the ‘Netflix Basic with Ads’ plan has gone live in many regions like the US. The new ad-supported plan could come to India as well, though the company has not yet announced any date. Netflix faces increasing competition from services like Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar and others, and reported a massive drop in subscribers earlier this year. The new more affordable plan is one of Netflix’s moves to encourage more people to get a membership. Ahead of the plan being available in India, here’s what to expect.

Note that these features are based on the ‘Netflix Basic with Ads’ plan in the US. Details of the plan and its features may change when Netflix announces the same in India.

What is the ‘Netflix Basic with Ads’ plan?

The plan is a new tier and new and existing Netflix subscribers can choose to subscribe to this. It brings advertisements to the Netflix Basic plan, which will make your viewing experience similar to that of watching YouTube without a premium membership. Netflix says that the plan will bring 4-5 minutes of ads per hour.

This includes ads that kick in before a movie or episode, as well as ads that show up in the middle of movies. As per a report by The Verge, there is no consistency when it comes to when you will see an ad. There are movies where you will see just one ad in the middle while others may show up to three.

What are Netflix ads like?

The ads are similar to standard web ads which are 15 or 30 seconds long. While they can be paused, they cannot be skipped. However, Netflix does have a countdown on the top-right to help users know much of the ad is left before their episode or movie is back.

In the beginning, ads will be generic, but Netflix is expected to implement broader targeted advertising, which means you’re likely to see more relevant ads later on, based on your country and the genres you watch.

Are ads the only compromise with the plan?

It seems the ‘Basic with ads’ plans comes with a few other drawbacks also. Some content is simply unavailable with the plan. This also includes popular shows like ‘Arrested Development’ and movies like ‘Skyfall’. These movies and shows will be marked with a lock. Netflix will actually let users click on this lock to show options for higher-tier plans to unlock all the content.

Users can also stream in only up to 720p quality (also a limitation of the non-ad Basic plan). The Basic with Ads plan will also not support offline viewing. This means users will not be able to download movies/episodes to watch later when on a flight or in areas with patchy internet connections.

When will the plan come to India?

Netflix has currently not announced when the Basic with Ads plan could come to more regions. Currently, the plan is only available in select regions including the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

In the US, the plan costs $6.99 (about Rs 577) per month. The exact pricing in India will remain a mystery until the plan is launched here. It will also likely be much cheaper than US equivalent amount as the standard Netflix plan in India

Currently, Netflix has four active plans in India, all of which are expected to continue alongside the Basic with Ads plan. These are the Rs 149 Mobile plan, Rs 199 Basic plan, Rs 499 Standard plan and Rs 649 Premium plan. While the Mobile plan only supports phones and tablets, the Basic plan supports computers and TVs as well. However, for better picture quality, users must upgrade to the Standard plan (1080p) or the Premium plan (4K+ HDR).

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