Netflix has removed its $9.99 advertising-free “Basic” plan in the U.S. and U.K., a move that would push new subscribers to sign up for more lucrative subscription options for the streaming giant.
A visit to Netflix’s sign-up page Wednesday morning showed only three options for new subscribers: Its $6.99 “Standard with Ads” tier, $15.49 “Standard” plan, and $19.99 “Premium” plan, which both are ad-free.
In an FAQ on its sign-up page, the company wrote that “the Basic plan is no longer available for new or rejoining members. If you are currently on the Basic plan, you can remain on this plan until you change plans or cancel your account.”
In other words, for current Basic plan subscribers, they can keep that plan for now, with the new changes only applying to new or returning subs.
A Netflix spokesperson declined to comment.
Netflix executives have said the ad tier already draws higher revenue per subscriber than its standard tier, though they have added they are neutral about what tier users choose to subscribe to. The elimination of the Basic tier will push new users to either the ad-supported plan or the standard plan, which is more than doubble the price of the ad plan.
The elimination of the Basic plan in the U.S. comes a month after the company made the same move in Canada.
Netflix’s advertising tier, which launched as “Basic with Ads” late last year, now has “nearly 5 million” monthly active users, the company said at its inaugural upfront advertising presentation in May. Active users is not the same as subscribers (presumably, one subscription can have multiple users) but it is a step in that direction.
The company also said that engagement on its ad plan is similar to its ad-free plans, a critical piece of data as the more time users spend with a service, the more advertising revenue it can drive.
Netflix is scheduled to report earnings after the market close on Wednesday afternoon.
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