Netflix's basic plan is a thing of the past. This week, Netflix removed its $9.99/month "Basic" plan, the cheapest of its three commercial-free subscriptions, from its sign-up page in the U.S. and U.K. The shutdown leaves new subscribers with just three options: the recently introduced ad-supported plan ("Standard with Ads," priced at $6.99/month), and Netflix's more expensive ad-free tiers, the cheapest of which ("Standard") costs $15.49/month. Whichever option customers choose is guaranteed to juice profits for Netflix — it's just a question of whether that will come via ad revenue or increased subscription fees.
According to a note on the Netflix Help Center, "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."
The removal of the Basic plan creates a large gap between Netflix's Standard with Ads and Standard plans. It's not just that a Standard subscription is more than double the price of the ad-supported tier, though customers will certainly feel the hit on their wallets, should they decide to upgrade to a commercial-free plan. Users who decline to pay the increased fee and move to the ad-supported plan are unable to download content and will be limited to two concurrent streams. Certain titles are also unavailable on the Standard with Ads plan, including House of Cards and Peaky Blinders.
Netflix's big move comes as it looks to increase revenue on a global scale. In recent months, the streamer eliminated the Basic plan in Canada and officially unveiled its new password sharing policy, which requires subscribers to link their account to a single household. (Another key difference between Netflix's three pricing tiers: Standard and Premium subscribers can pay to add extra members who live outside their household, but Standard with Ads customers cannot).
In May, the company announced the ad-supported plan has grown to five million global monthly active users after launching in late 2022, with co-CEO Greg Peters adding that "engagement on [the] ads plan is similar to [Netflix's] comparable non-ads plans." The company will report quarterly earnings on Wednesday afternoon, so it's likely updated numbers will emerge at that time.
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.