While reporting earnings today, Netflix executives told investors that the plan will be phased out in some countries where ad-supported plans are offered. This means that neither new nor returning members can sign up for the $11.99-a-month Basic model. In the second quarter of this year, it will start in Canada and the UK.
The no more cheap ad-free Netflix plans.
Still, Netflix’s $15.49-a-month plan is the cheapest one that doesn’t have ads. It’s a big jump from $11.99 to $15.49 a month, so there’s no real middle ground for deals without ads. If not, users will have to pay either $6.99 a month for the basic plan with ads or $22.99 a month for the Premium plan. Last year, Netflix stopped letting new people sign up for its Basic plan in Canada. The change was then made to the US and UK.
Like the previous quarter, our ads membership grew by almost 70% from one quarter to the next. This was made possible by changes to our service (like more downloads) and the gradual end of our Basic plan for new and returning members in our ads markets. 40% of all new Netflix subscribers in our ad markets now sign up for the ads plan. We plan to phase out the basic plan in some of our ad markets, starting with Canada and the UK in Q2 and going from there.
It now has 23 million monthly active users, and co-CEO Greg Peters said in a video talk for investors that Netflix’s main goal for it is to “scale.” He said that included making it more attractive with upgrades like last year’s changes to the cheapest version that bumped the resolution to 1080p, added multiple streams, and switched on downloads, and how Netflix is “shifting our plans and pricing structure in other places.”
Netflix also revealed that it added 13.1 million subscribers during the final quarter of 2023, bringing its total number to 247 million globally.
Netflix’s service has added a lot of new features over the years, with 4K streams and its push into games, but don’t expect those upgrades to come for free forever. The leaders write, “As we invest in and improve Netflix, we’ll occasionally ask our members to pay a little extra to reflect those improvements.” Netflix raised the prices of its Basic and Premium plans last year.
Earlier today, Netflix made the surprise news that it struck a 10-year deal to air the WWE’s Monday Night Raw. The $5 billion deal will bring the live weekly show to streaming after over three decades of showing on linear television. Under the rules of the deal, Netflix will get Monday Night Raw for 10 years, with a chance to end the contract after five. NBCUniversal’s Peacock currently has a library of WWE video on its service, but it doesn’t air Monday Night Raw live. Peacock also still has the rights to the WWE’s premium shows, like the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania.
Netflix has only been diving deeper into live sports over the past several months — even after the streamer said it would stick to “sports-adjacent” streaming. In November, the company aired its first live sports broadcast — a golf battle between PGA pros and F1 racers — and later announced its plans to host a live tennis match this March featuring veteran player Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz. Netflix’s WWE deal marks its biggest entry into sports yet.