Netflix subs are about to get cheaper, but there's a big catch

Netflix on the Mac
Netflix on the Mac (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Netflix has confirmed that it is in talks with ad companies as it plans a new ad-supported tier.
  • There is no word on how much the new ad-supported offering will cost.
  • The cheapest Netflix subscription today costs $9.99 per month.

We're all more familiar with Netflix getting more costly, but for once your subscription could actually see its price get lower — so long as you're willing to watch an ad or four.

We'd already heard rumblings that Netflix was getting ready to introduce a new ad-supported tier, but now the cat is very much out of the bag after Co-Chief Exec Ted Sarandos confirmed the company is speaking with multiple partners in an attempt to get its ad business off the ground.

The WSJ reports that Sarandos made the comments on Thursday, saying that Netflix wants a "pretty easy entry to the market."

"We want a pretty easy entry to the market—which, again, we will build on and iterate in," he added. "What we do at first will not be representative of what the product will be ultimately. I want our product to be better than TV."

Netflix isn't the only streamer considering adding commercial messages to its content. Disney+ is also in the process of getting ads ready to be aligned with its content. Now, Netflix seems keen to make sure that it has as much control over its ads as possible, presumably to ensure those ads fit with the content they're being shown against. "If it becomes so important that we want to have control over it, then we might [build our own ad business]," the exec is reported as saying.

There is currently no concrete information available as to how much the new ad-supported tier will cost, nor whether Netflix will offer 4K streaming and multi-device support on that tier. The cheapest Netflix offering is $9.99 per month right now, but that limits viewers to watching on a single screen at a time, while content isn't even presented in HD, let alone 4K. Those looking for 4K have to double their payment, while HD will cost $15.49 alongside a couple of other improvements to the package.

By contrast, Apple TV+ costs $4.99 per month and that's it. Family Sharing is supported, while 4K HDR is also offered as standard. Apple TV+ does not have ads, either.

The ad-supported subscription comes as Netflix continues to deal with a changing streaming market and one in which it recently lost 200,000 subscribers in a single quarter — news that also triggered layoffs and a number of content projects to be canceled.

If you want to enjoy Netflix and its ads in style, be sure to check out our list of the best Apple TV deals on the market today.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.