After actively stopping customers from accessing its service free of charge, Netflix could soon charge you more to watch without adverts.
The streaming service has started phasing out its “Basic” plan in Canada, effectively removing the cheapest option that doesn’t contain ads.
As a result, new subscribers must either sit through adverts or pay extra for the traditional ad-free experience. Netflix told a local Canadian newspaper that it plans to scrap the plan for existing customers soon.
“The Basic plan is no longer available for new or rejoining members,” Netflix states on its Canada site, according to a Reddit user. “If you are currently on the Basic plan, you can remain on this plan until you change plans or cancel your account.”
Netflix offers four plans in the UK: There’s the ad subscription for £5 per month, Basic for £7 per month, Standard for £11 per month, and Premium for £16 per month.
The different tiers come with their own perks, including the ability to watch and download on multiple devices at once on the most expensive options.
Netflix has not officially said if it plans to nix the Basic plan in other countries. But, seeing as it has previously tested out changes in Canada first, before rolling them out to additional markets, we wouldn’t rule out the possibility.
The company took this exact approach with its contentious password-sharing crackdown earlier this year. It implemented the policy in Canada in February and then introduced it in the UK in May.
The rules, which essentially prevent customers from sharing their accounts with others unless they pay, prompted a massive outcry from subscribers.
However, a study recently revealed that the change had led to a bigger bump in new sign-ups to the service than during the start of the Covid pandemic.
Worryingly, Netflix has already started hiding its cheap basic plan in the UK, as The Standard revealed in January.
Currently, when you head to the streamer’s sign-up page in the UK, you can initially choose between only the Basic with Ads plan, the Standard plan, and the Premium plan. However, the Basic plan is hidden in the small print.
Netflix’s Canadian customers have bemoaned the removal of the subscription for weeks.
“I’m so mad about this. Why would they get rid of the best plan for single people who don’t have anyone they are sharing with? Is Netflix literally trying to encourage people to not sign up?” wrote an incensed Reddit user.
“They got rid of it because they want you to pay more,” said another Redditor in response.
Reddit users are also speculating that Netflix axed the Basic plan after noticing it was a popular option for those looking to downgrade after the password-sharing ban began.
“People that were originally on higher plans to enable sharing were probably downgrading at alarming rates,” said one Redditor.
Netflix revealed in May that almost five million people were watching its advertising tier every month. Evening Standard