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Netflix’s ad-supported plan is off to a lousy start

Published Dec 20th, 2022 3:13PM EST
Netflix's Basic with Ads plans launches in November.
Image: Netflix

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Netflix rolled out its “Basic with ads” plan in November for $6.99 a month. The ad-supported plan is the cheapest subscription the streamer offers, but it is also the only plan that shows ads before or during most movies and shows. Apparently, that trade-off hasn’t been especially appealing, as The Wall Street Journal reports that Netflix’s new ad-supported plan was its least popular option among new subscribers for the month of November.

Subscription analytics firm Antenna told WSJ this week that Basic with ads accounted for just 9% of new Netflix signups in November 2022. 57% of those users were returning to the streamer or subscribing for the first time, while the other 43% downgraded from ad-free plans.

Antenna estimates that 0.2% of Netflix subscribers were on the ad-supported plan by the end of November. The firm also believes that the streamer added fewer subscribers in November than it did in October, despite the launch of the new plan.

A Netflix spokesperson pushed back, telling WSJ that Antenna’s figures aren’t fully accurate: “It’s still very early days for our ad-supported tier and we’re pleased with its launch and engagement, as well as the eagerness of advertisers to partner with Netflix.”

Whether or not Antenna’s estimates are accurate, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos admitted earlier this month at an investor conference that advertising is in the “crawl” stage right now. It could take some time before the ad-supported plan is walking, much less running.

Aside from the ads, one of the biggest drawbacks of the ad-supported plan is that it has a more limited library than the ad-free plans. According to Reelgood (via Business Insider), Netflix Basic with ads is missing 245 movies and 118 shows that are available on ad-free plans. We rounded up some of those blocked movies and shows last month.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.