Netflix lays out dates, prices and small print for new ad-supported tier

Streaming giant Netflix will launch its heavily-flagged ad-supported tier next month. The snappily-titled Netflix Basic With Ads will debut in Canada and Mexico on November 1st then the US on November 3rd.. The low cost plan will also be available in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain and the UK.

Although pricing will vary according to local currency, the scale of the saving is illustrated by the US, where the ad-supported tier will be $6.99, $3 cheaper than the Basic tier ($9.99). The big question then will be whether this discounted offer is sufficiently large to help the streamer re-energise its subscriber take up rate.

Greg Peters

Customers on the Basic With Ads plan will not be able to download titles for offline viewing. In addition, the ad-supported plan will not include Netflix’s entire content line-up at launch. “A limited number of movies and TV shows won’t be available due to licensing restrictions,” said Netflix chief operating officer Greg Peters, “and we’re going to be working on reducing that over time.” Peters estimated that approximately 5% to 10% of titles will be unavailable via Basic With Ads – depending on territory.

The decision to add an ad tier is a response to Netflix’s flagging subscriber growth and the recent explosion of activity in the AVOD and FAST arena. Peters called the new development “an exciting opportunity for advertisers — the chance to reach a diverse audience, including younger viewers who increasingly don’t watch linear TV, in a premium environment with a seamless, high-resolution ads experience,”

At launch, ads will typically be 15 or 30 seconds long (with variations in Spain), and will play before and during programming (with the exception of new release movies). The ad load will be 4-5 minutes of ads per hour, roughly in line with rival services.

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