Netflix is hiding its cheap basic plan to get people to pay for ads

You can actually watch popular shows ad-free, like Stranger Things, for cheaper than a Standard sub  (Netflix)
You can actually watch popular shows ad-free, like Stranger Things, for cheaper than a Standard sub (Netflix)

Netflix is hiding its cheapest ad-free streaming membership on its sign-up page in a move that appears designed to encourage customers to pay to watch ads.

Currently, when you head to the streamer’s sign-up page in the UK, you can initially only choose between three options, including the £4.99 Basic with Ads plan, Standard for £10.99, and Premium at £15.99.

However, a fourth plan that allows you to watch ad-free for £6.99 (or just two quid more than the Basic with Ads plan) is hidden in the small print.

Scroll down the page and you should see text that reads, “Want more options?” with a link next to it that states, “See all plans.” Only once you click on this option will Netflix show you the fourth subscription and its features.

Netflix’s sign-up page does not immediately show you all its subscription plans (Netflix)
Netflix’s sign-up page does not immediately show you all its subscription plans (Netflix)

Unlike the ad plan, the other Basic tier gives you uninterrupted access to Netflix’s entire library of shows and movies. Another difference is that you can download content to watch later. However, the streaming quality on both the cheaper plans is capped at 720p. Those looking for full HD and 4K video quality, along with the ability to watch on multiple devices, can opt for the Standard and Premium tiers.

The change was spotted in the US by financial analyst Andrew Freedman on Twitter. It is also appearing in the UK, France, and Germany, among other regions.

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After years of championing its ad-free benefits, Netflix finally caved and rolled out its advertising plan last November. Customers who sign up to the subscription are shown adverts that typically last between 15 and 30 seconds, amounting to “about four minutes of ads per hour”, according to Netflix. These ads can appear before, during, and after shows and movies.

It’s unclear how popular the plan is in the UK, but it seems to have gotten off to a rocky start in the US. The plan accounted for just nine per cent of new Netflix sign-ups in the country during its launch month of November, according to The Wall Street Journal – making it the least-popular of all the streamer’s subscriptions.