Netflix Shakes Up Pricing: ‘Basic’ Tier Axed in UK, US

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Breaking: In a major shakeup of its pricing model, Netflix, the global streaming giant, has abandoned its low-cost ‘Basic’ tier in the UK and the US, echoing its earlier strategy in Canada.

This game-changing move, first spotlighted by us this morning, shows Netflix’s clear plan to change its subscription model globally, and put more emphasis on its ad-supported plan.

With the ‘Basic’ tier off the table for new subscribers, those who wish to watch Netflix without adverts will now have to pay at least £10.99/month ($15.49 in the US).

Audiences in the UK, US, and likely other regions soon, are now facing a new viewing norm – enduring occasional ad breaks during their Netflix marathons if they desire an affordable streaming experience (dive into the full pricing details ahead).

Netflix on smartphone

The Birth Of Netflix’s Ad-Supported Tier

Initially launched in late 2022 as ‘Basic with Ads’, Netflix’s Ad-supported tier provided subscribers with access to the majority of Netflix’s expansive content library, but with a slight twist.

For a reduced price of £4.99/month ($6.99 in the US), subscribers had to bear with several minutes of ads per hour.

However, the ‘Basic with Ads’ tag didn’t stick around for long. In April 2023, Netflix announced a significant upgrade to this tier, enhancing the video quality from 720p to 1080p, and allowing for two simultaneous streams.

This major uplift essentially matched the offerings of the higher-priced ‘Standard’ tier, prompting Netflix to rebrand the plan from ‘Basic with Ads’ to ‘Standard with Ads’.

Netflix with adverts new plans canada 2023
Netflix’s Plans – Previous Version

Despite the enhancements, the ‘Standard with Ads’ tier held on to its lower price point, establishing itself as a competitive alternative for budget-conscious streamers who were willing to trade a few minutes of their time for ads.

Now, with the cancellation of the original Basic tier, it’s evident that the ‘Standard with Ads’ tier has become a central piece in Netflix’s global strategy.

Netflix’s ‘Standard With Ads’ VS ‘Basic Tier’

Before the new shakeup, the two entry-level plans for Netflix users were the ‘Basic’ tier and the ‘Standard with Ads’ tier. These two options offered vastly different viewing experiences at differing price points.

The ‘Standard with Ads’ tier, priced at £4.99/month, allowed users to stream content in Full HD (1080p) on two devices simultaneously, but with periodic advertisements.

This plan also came with some limitations – it does not allow users to download content for offline viewing, and due to licensing restrictions, some content is not available.

Nevertheless, according to Netflix, the ‘Standard with Ads’ tier has around 95% content parity globally with the ad-free tier.

Netflix UK Plans June 2023
Netflix’s UK Plans – Before This Week’s Change

On the other hand, the ‘Basic’ tier, priced at £6.99/month until this week, permitted subscribers to stream content in HD (720p) on a single device without interruptions from adverts.

However, with no multiple-device streaming and the limitation to HD quality (720p), it was less flexible and lower quality compared to the ‘Standard with Ads’ tier.

The major distinction between these two plans was the presence (or absence) of adverts.

For those who valued an ad-free viewing experience, the ‘Basic’ tier was the obvious choice, albeit at a slightly higher cost.

Conversely, for viewers who prioritised price and higher quality over the occasional disturbance of ads, the ‘Standard with Ads’ tier offered better value.

How Netflix Quietly Pushed ‘Standard With Ads’ Over ‘Basic’ Plan

Prior to the removal of the ‘Basic’ tier, there were already signals that Netflix was subtly steering its audience towards the ad-supported ‘Standard with Ads’ option.

As we first reported earlier this year, Netflix already made some changes to its ‘Choose A Plan’ page for new customers, back in January.

While the £6.99/month ‘Basic’ tier remained available, it was no longer prominently displayed. Instead, it was subtly tucked away under a small text link, while the ‘Standard with Ads’ plan took centre stage as the default low-cost option for new subscribers.

Netflix Plans With ‘Basic’ Hidden Away


This subtle adjustment seemed to aim at increasing visibility and uptake of the ‘Standard with Ads’ plan.

For an ad-supported tier to succeed, a substantial subscriber base is necessary – advertisers require a considerable audience to make their investments worthwhile.

Consequently, Netflix appeared to be setting the stage for a significant shift in its strategy, one that leaned towards increasing advertisement revenue.

This week’s discontinuation of the ‘Basic’ tier in the UK and the US seems to confirm this strategic reorientation.

The End of Netflix’s Basic Tier in the UK and the US

In a move that echoes last month’s shift in Canada, Netflix has now decided to discontinue the ‘Basic’ tier in both the UK and the US (and possibly additional countries), leaving the ‘Standard with Ads’ as the lowest-cost option for new subscribers in these markets.

Netflix on phone and laptop
Photo: Deposit Photos / 22ImagesStudio

The cancellation of the ‘Basic’ tier, which was once the gateway to ad-free, affordable Netflix viewing, is a significant milestone in the evolution of Netflix’s strategy.

It’s worth noting that existing Basic plan subscribers can keep their subscription for now, as Netflix’s Plans page in the UK and the US now states this:

“The Basic plan is no longer available for new or rejoining members. If you are currently on the Basic plan, you can remain on this plan until you change plans or cancel your account.”

For viewers in the UK and the US, this implies that the ‘Standard with Ads’ option has become the go-to for budget-conscious streamers.

If they wish to enjoy the Netflix content library at an affordable rate, they will now need to tolerate occasional adverts, a requirement that was absent with the ‘Basic’ plan. 

Otherwise, they’ll have to jump to the Standard tier, and pay more than double. 

Here’s how Netflix’s plans now look in the UK, for new subscribers:

  • The Standard with Adverts Plan at £4.99/month – lets you stream content in Full HD (1080p), on 2 devices at a time, with adverts.
  • The Basic Plan at £6.99/month (Cancelled!) – lets you stream content in HD (720p), on only one device at a time, without adverts.
  • The Standard Plan at £10.99/month – lets you stream content in Full HD (1080p), on up to 2 devices at a time, without adverts.
  • The Premium Plan at £15.99/month – lets you stream some content in UltraHD (4K), on up to 4 devices at a time, without adverts.
Netflix UK tiers no basic plan July 2023
Netflix’s New Plans – July 2023

This change could potentially alter the Netflix viewing experience for many, as the company continues to expand its strategy of an ad-supported, lower-cost streaming option.

We reached out to Netflix for comment and will update this article if the company chooses to respond.

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9 thoughts on “Netflix Shakes Up Pricing: ‘Basic’ Tier Axed in UK, US”

  1. Well, after trying to make me set up a new account as I work away from home, I cancelled, and now with the basic tier scrapped I won’t be coming back.

  2. Do they think they are the only movie site people pay for I know if it gets any higher I will be deleting my Netflix account, to be fair amazon prime and disney have more options on things to watch Netflix has been failing for a couple of years now come to think of it … might delete it now really

  3. Time to rethink the TV watching situation as its a big jump in price from £6.99 to £10.99 they should put more new movies on as there is a lot of crap on atm

  4. We’ll I’m a switcher, Apple TV, Disney Prime, Paramount and previously Netflix depending on content. Now Netflix have no budget AD free tier I won’t be coming back, especially with better content in all the other competitors. Why would anybody pay money to watch adverts? 🤷‍♂️

  5. The biggest long term impact could be for non-Netflix subscribers. Free to air TV relies entirely on ads and sponsorship. Some niche channels (my favourites) get just enough revenue to survive. Netflix’s used to accurately boast that they were extending choice while bringing a new revenue stream to British TV. Thereby not harming the existing broadcasters.

    Now they are likely to wipe out some of the more important unique cultural and indigenous outlets by draining the ad pool.

  6. I feel discriminated as a single person, living alone. I have the basic package with Netflix but if I want to cancel this for some reason and return I would then have to pay for a plan where I would not use all that I will be forced to pay for. Why on earth would I be watching on two devices at the same time? It is so much more expensive for single people to live. One income to cover all household bills !

  7. Beyond glad i’ve stuck with basic. After they went and re-encoded their entire library from CBR to VBR*, the 720p quality is pretty decent compared to what it was, even on my 50″ screen, so im not clamoring for 1080p at the massive jump in price for that. also, im happy at 720p with no ads than 1080p with ads. If i want ads, i’ll watch commercial TV.
    If they eventually withdraw the right from existing customers, that will be it for me with Netflix, as the non-ads prices are way above what its worth to me. Basic at £6.99 is more than palatable to me, but it isn’t a HBO, where its worth it absolutely.

    (* – Constant Bitrate • Variable Bitrate)


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