Netflix UK Subscribers Angry As Basic Tier Disappears

This post may contain affiliate links*

Netflix’s once-celebrated ad-free, affordable streaming era is coming to a definitive end in the UK, as the streamer’s “Basic”, ad-free tier is going away for good.

The Basic tier was axed for new subscribers last year – but existing subscribers were able to keep it – until now.

This month, Netflix began alerting its UK customers still on the legacy Basic tier that their plans will soon vanish, replaced by the ad-interrupted alternative.

While the new tier is cheaper (£4.99 vs. £7.99 per month), it includes adverts – so many subscribers have expressed their discontent loudly on social media, criticising Netflix for pushing them into a corner: accept adverts or pay significantly more each month.

Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming changes.

The True And Final End Of Netflix’s “Basic” Tier

As we previously reported, the first steps towards discontinuing the ‘Basic’, ad-free tier were taken in July 2023.

Netflix logo on phone shows background
Photo: Deposit Photos / Rafapress

First, Netflix launched a low-cost ‘Standard with Ads’ tier, which costs £4.99/month but includes advert breaks (compared to the ad-free Basic tier, which, at the time, cost £6.99/month).

By making the ad-free ‘Basic’ tier harder to find, Netflix quickly pushed new customers towards that tier.

The aim was to increase the number of customers on the ad-supported tier, which was apparently more lucrative to Netflix than the Basic, ad-free tier.

Netflix UK Plans June 2023
Netflix’s Older UK Plans – With The Basic Tier

Then, Netflix decided to axe the ‘Basic’ ad-free tier for new subscribers in the UK and the US altogether, marking the beginning of a pivot in Netflix’s subscription strategy.

Despite this, existing ‘Basic’ subscribers were allowed to continue with their plans, but the price of that tier went up (for those existing subscribers) in October 2023, to £7.99/month.

Earlier this year, Netflix announced the final blow – the intended cancellation of the Basic tier for existing subscribers in the UK (and Canada) in Q2 2024 – which is where we are now.

Pay-TV companies in the UK, which used to bundle the ‘Basic’ Netflix tier in their offerings, also felt the ripple effects of these changes. 

In December 2023, Sky discontinued the inclusion of the ‘Basic’ Netflix plan for new customers, shifting towards the ‘Standard with Ads’ tier. 

Sky and Netflix password collage

Virgin Media also ditched the ‘Basic’ tier for new subscribers back in July 2023.

Therefore EE TV (formerly known as BT TV) is still the only pay-TV company that still offers Netflix’s Basic tier – but that is likely to change in the future as well.

The Final Notice: Emails Sent to ‘Basic’ Tier Subscribers

This week, as noticed by our friends over at Be Clever With Your Cash, Netflix began sending emails to its remaining ‘Basic’ tier subscribers in the UK, informing them of the impending change.

This means that existing Basic subscribers – starting from their next renewal date – will be switched over to the Standard with Ads tier, which costs less than their current Basic tier – but, of course, includes adverts.

Netflix basic cancelled email redacted

With the phasing out of the ‘Basic’ tier for legacy subscribers, Netflix now offers only three subscription options in the UK, for both new and existing members:

The Standard with Adverts Plan (£4.99/month):

  • Streaming in Full HD (1080p)
  • Simultaneous streaming on two devices
  • Limited downloads (for offline viewing) are available
  • Includes adverts

The Standard Plan (£10.99/month):

  • Full HD (1080p) streaming
  • No adverts
  • Streaming on up to two devices at a time

The Premium Plan (£17.99/month):

  • Some content available in UltraHD (4K)
  • No adverts
  • Streaming on up to four devices simultaneously

Netflix UK tiers 2024

Netflix Subscribers Voice Their Anger On Social Media

While the ‘Standard with Ads’ tier may seem like a cost-effective alternative for ‘Basic’ subscribers, it’s important to remember that for those who wish to maintain an ad-free streaming experience, this change effectively represents a price increase.

To continue watching Netflix without adverts, subscribers will now have to pay at least £10.99/month for the Standard plan, a significant jump from the £7.99/month they were previously paying for the ‘Basic’ tier.

As expected, some of those who received Netflix’s announcement this week, were less than pleased.

For many years, streaming services such as Netflix were synonymous with being ad-free – so understandably, many subscribers don’t want to start seeing adverts during their binge marathons.

With so many streaming services adding ad-supported tiers (Amazon’s Prime Video now includes adverts unless you pay an extra £2.99/month, and Paramount+ is expected to launch an ad-supported plan in the near future) – it seems adverts are here to stay – unless you’re willing to pay extra.

For more news and updates on TV and streaming in the UK, Subscribe to our free newsletter.

3 thoughts on “Netflix UK Subscribers Angry As Basic Tier Disappears”

  1. The basic video quality was supposedly 720p, but I haven’t noticed it as yet.
    The one thing I am wondering about is that at one point, supposedly some titles weren’t available in the ad tier site to licensing restrictions. Is that still the case, because, if so, then that’s another problem with losing the Basic tier.

  2. I cannot be alone in wondering if I can skip adverts by creating a kids profile (I have no kids) and selecting that profile when I log in?

    Also, can Netflix be prosecuted by claiming the video quality is better, when it is exactly the same as the discontinued plan?


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

man watchin streaming tv on tablet

Get Cord Buster's Free UK TV Streaming Cheatsheet


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get TV And Tech News

Get Bonus Streaming TV Guide