Netflix's anniversary brings exciting updates to its ad-supported plan.
Netflix is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its ad-supported plan with some enticing updates for its subscribers. The company has announced that users on Netflix's ad-supported tier will soon have the opportunity to download videos for offline viewing, making it the first streaming service to offer this feature to ad-supported users. Additionally, Netflix will reward binge-watchers with ad-free bonus episodes, a move that sets it apart from its competitors.
Netflix's ad-supported tier, initially known as "Basic with Ads" and now renamed "Standard with Ads," was introduced in November 2022, offering a more affordable option for viewers. It originally provided a single stream at a resolution of 720p for $6.99 a month and did not include the ability to download content. Since its launch, Netflix has been gradually enhancing this plan, including improving video resolution and offering two concurrent streams.
In a recent blog post, Netflix's advertising president, Amy Reinhard, revealed that all subscribers on the ad-supported plan would soon have the ability to download videos for offline viewing. This feature is expected to be available by the end of the week, marking a significant milestone for Netflix. The move makes Netflix the only streaming platform to allow downloads for ad-supported users.
“We have built an incredible foundation, focusing on areas advertisers told us matter most, all while delivering unmissable entertainment at an unbeatable value,” Reinhard wrote. “As we continue to build and adapt our service, we’re excited about the progress we’ve made.”
While Reinhard did not specify whether downloaded videos would include ads, it is likely that they will. Netflix's ad-supported tier, with its more budget-friendly price point, has seen substantial growth over the past year. The number of global monthly "active" users on this tier has increased from 5 million to 15 million in just six months, showcasing its popularity among viewers looking for a cost-effective streaming option.
One of the most exciting updates announced is the introduction of a "binge" ad unit, set to roll out in early 2024. This unique feature will reward Netflix users who binge-watch three episodes of a show with a fourth ad-free episode, a clever way to keep viewers engaged and encourage extended watching sessions. Netflix acknowledges the binge-watching habits of its audience and is leveraging this behavior to enhance the user experience.
Netflix's ad-supported tier has maintained its price point at $6.99 per month in the United States, while other subscription tiers have seen price increases. The company's ongoing efforts to improve the ad-supported tier's quality and features could potentially attract more subscribers, as it remains an attractive option for budget-conscious viewers.
The success of Netflix's ad-supported plan has prompted other streaming services to consider similar offerings. With Netflix taking the lead in allowing downloads for ad-supported users, competitors like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock may feel compelled to follow suit. This move could lead to a broader trend in the streaming industry, where ad-supported users gain access to offline downloads, and potentially further enhance the value of these subscription options.