Netflix could be planning a completely free ad-supported service but there’s a catch

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With a whole host of the best streaming services at our fingertips, subscriptions can get expensive, which is why it’s nice to hear that Netflix is reportedly considering rolling out a completely free tier with ads, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Unfortunately, though, Netflix would not reportedly look to launch such a service in the US market – instead, it is considering Europe and Asia. The reason for this is that the streamer is already reaching its potential customer base in the US market so it does not see the potential for new sign-ups to be lured in by the offer.

The people familiar with the matter that don’t want to be named told Bloomberg: “Netflix has discussed creating free versions of its streaming service in some markets, namely in Europe and Asia, as the company looks for more ways to increase its audience, according to people familiar with its plans.”

Netflix considers a move to FAST 

This isn’t the first time that Netflix has experimented with offering free streaming, having already tested a Spotify-like free tier of their service in 2021 in Kenya, where they asked people to sign up and confirm they were over the age of 18, but no payment information was required. 

The free Netflix tier in Kenya was closed in October 2023, according to Reuters. At the time, Netflix told the publication: "We definitely learnt a lot from the test. We are going to continue to offer a variety of other plans."

Netflix already has an ad-supported tier called Standard with Ads – it had removed its cheapest ad-free plan in July 2023, enraging subscribers. For $6.99 / £4.99 / AU$6.99, subscribers get 1080p Full HD resolution and the option to add two devices to watch at once, so it’s ideal for smaller households.

This isn’t the only shake-up Netflix is considering, as we recently reported it was testing a major change to their homepage, which could make browsing for the perfect show or movie so much easier. But free ad-supported tier would ultimately help the streamer to reach more people who either can’t afford the service or don’t have a way to pay for it, so there could be a lot more changes in store for Netflix subscribers yet. 

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Lucy Buglass
Senior Entertainment Writer

Lucy is a long-time movie and television lover who is an approved critic on Rotten Tomatoes. She has written several reviews in her time, starting with a small self-ran blog called Lucy Goes to Hollywood before moving onto bigger websites such as What's on TV and What to Watch, with TechRadar being her most recent venture. Her interests primarily lie within horror and thriller, loving nothing more than a chilling story that keeps her thinking moments after the credits have rolled. Many of these creepy tales can be found on the streaming services she covers regularly.

When she’s not scaring herself half to death with the various shows and movies she watches, she likes to unwind by playing video games on Easy Mode and has no shame in admitting she’s terrible at them. She also quotes The Simpsons religiously and has a Blinky the Fish tattoo, solidifying her position as a complete nerd.