There's been a lot of discussion around Netflix of late, as the cost of living crisis bites and people cancel their streaming services in order to save cash. But Netflix has a solution on the way that I think could make the streaming service suddenly a lot more appealing for many people.
I'm talking, but of course, about the ad-supported Netflix service option, which the company CEO, Ted Sarandos, confirmed at the Cannes Lions advertising festival at the tail-end of June this year. It's officially coming, it's just not officially detailed how this option will look just yet.
And before you freak out that your pricey Netflix subscription is going to be littered with ads, fear not: the existing plans will remain ad-free, the ad-supported version will just be a new tier. However, nobody yet knows precisely what Netflix's plan is regarding pricing.
As T3's Editor-in-Chief wrote just the other day: Netflix's ad-supported streaming needs to be free to be successful. I don't think that'll be the case, however, as I suspect Netflix will still want to take £/$4.99 per month for its ad-based streaming service (that's my total guestimate there, nothing is official!). T3's Deputy Editor also thinks ad-supported Netflix is a good idea and we should all just (Netflix and) chill.
I also don't think that Netflix will offer its highest-quality resolution and audio options for the ad-based version, in a bid to make you want to upgrade – not so much to drop the averts, but to gain 4K UHD and Dolby Atmos goodness. I'm not expecting it to be quite to the low-quality levels of NOW, for example, but Full HD will be the ceiling for ad-watchers I reckon.
Nonetheless this isn't a bad thing all in all: I resubscribed to Netflix just to watch Stranger Things, but now I'm going to unsubscribe again to save myself £15.99 a month for the next, who knows, many months. It depends if the service dangles a must-watch show as an irresistible carrot (I'm not talking about Pretty Smart, the comedy show pictured up top, which was cancelled after just one season).
One thing that Netflix could certainly do to gain more support is to deliver a more consistent experience. By which I mean stop cancelling shows (here's the 2022 list of cancellations thus far) like they shouldn't have been made in the first place.
It'll be interesting to see what happens over the coming weeks as Netflix firms up its plans. As someone who'll be unsubscribed by the point of its arrival, I'll be one of those potential customers contemplating signing up to Netflix with ads. And I think that'll appeal to a lot of other people too.