The endless pursuit of satisfying shareholders has led Netflix to delete its cheapest ads-free tier, leaving users to choose between spending more money or more time with ads.
Netflix stopped letting new users sign up for the "Basic" ads-free tier in the Summer of 2023, just before its ad tier launched. It left existing customers alone at the time, but that will change in 2024.
According to The Verge, Netflix made the announcement while reporting its earnings. The ads-free Basic tier would be phased out entirely, starting with the UK and Canada in Q2 2024, with the US and other countries to follow.
The move is meant to push users to more lucrative subscriptions. They will have to choose to either spend $15.49 on 1080p ads-free content or $6.99 for ad-supported content.
Netflix's statement on the matter:
In Q4'23, like the quarter before, our ads membership increased by nearly 70% quarter over quarter, supported by improvements in our offering (e.g., downloads) and the phasing out of our Basic plan for new and rejoining members in our ads markets.
The ads plan now accounts for 40% of all Netflix sign-ups in our ads markets and we're looking to retire our Basic plan in some of our ads countries, starting with Canada and the UK in Q2 and taking it from there.
Netflix continues to increase prices and change its subscription tiers to ensure the swath of content it buys can be paid for with maximum profits. Though, like the cable giants Netflix hoped to overthrow, it too is approaching the dangerous threshold of "thousands of channels with nothing to watch."
Netflix also announced it struck a 10-year deal with WWE to air "Monday Night RAW." Time will tell how much that deal will cost consumers when Netflix inevitably raises prices again.