Bad news: Netflix just removed its cheapest ad-free plan for new US and UK subscribers

Man watching Netflix on TV
Den billigare prenumerationsplanen med annonser på Netflix är här för att stanna. (Image credit: Shutterstock / Vantage_DS)

Once again, Netflix has quietly made a change to its pricing model. While no official announcement has been made, the streaming service’s plans and pricing page no longer offers the option to sign up for its Basic plan in the US and UK.

That means that the Basic plan, which bridged the gap between its $6.99 / £4.99 per month ad-supported tier and more expensive Standard ad-free plan of $15.49 / £10.99 per month, is no longer available to new or rejoining subscribers. 

However, anyone that is already on the Basic plan, which costs $9.99 / £6.99 a month, can remain a subscriber at this tier until they choose to switch plans or cancel their account completely.    

As a result of the change, there will now only be three options to choose from. New subscribers are now limited to the Standard plan with adverts, Standard without ads and ad-free Premium based on what’s available on the company’s plans and pricing page for both the US and UK.      

Much more ads 

We knew this change was coming. We had already picked up on subtle cues from the company directing customers to its ad-supported Standard plan instead, so had got the impression that Netflix really doesn’t want you to sign up to its ads-free basic tier as early as the start of the year.  

And back on June 27, we reported that Netflix might drop its cheapest ad-free subscription after it made this move in Canada and removed it completely without word. Reading between the lines, the move is seen to be part of a wider push in the streaming space to garner more ad revenue. 

The approach seems to be working too. According to Netflix’s first-quarter shareholder letter released in April, since it launched its ad-supported option in November 2022 in Canada, the US and several other countries, its subscribers have grown.

“In Canada, which we believe is a reliable predictor for the US, our paid membership base is now larger than prior to the launch of paid sharing and revenue growth has accelerated and is now growing faster than in the US,” it said. 

The decision to quietly do the same in the US and UK happens to coincide with Netflix’s next earnings report, which is due to be announced on July 19 2023. But whether we’ll hear more about why it has decided to remove the Basic tier, and whether something might replace it, isn’t yet clear. But with Netflix reportedly about to unveil record subscriber numbers following its password-sharing crackdown, it looks like its current plans are working well enough.

Amelia Schwanke
Senior Editor UK, Home Entertainment

Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.