Netflix Won't Have Some of Its Movies and Shows on Ad-Supported Tier

Beginning on November 3, Netflix is rolling out its first-ever ad-supported tier, with users paying just $6.99 for access to the streaming platform, in exchange for allowing Netflix to play roughly four to five minutes of ads per hour. The name of the program will be Netflix Basic With Ads, and one thing that has not yet been promoted is how much the "Basic" will play into the actual experience. Ads are not going to be the only drawback; it will also come with a lower resolution for video, and some content will not be available to watch at all on the Basic plan. 

Why? Well, since Netflix has never had ads, and didn't intend to do so until fairly recently, some of the licensing deals they have negotiated for movies and TV shows specifically forbid them being shown with ads.

Variety touched on this in their story yesterday, citing comments from Netflix chief operating officer Greg Peters, and promising that Netflix intends to work on reducing the number of titles that will be unavailable on the Basic plan over time.

Peters told reporters that a "limited number of movies and TV shows won't be available due to licensing restrictions, and we're going to be working on reducing that over time." There are no specific titles named yet, so don't be surprised if the week of November 3 is full of stories of Redditors finding the discrepancies.

Reports also indicate that video quality for the Basic With Ads plan will top out at 720p, not the 1080p or 4k standard most hardcore cinemaphiles (and blockbuster fans, with visual effects being so important) are demanding these days. Netflix Basic subscribers will not be able to download titles to their devices, either.

The advertising algorithm was developed by Netflix in cooperation with Microsoft. The ads themselves will run 15 or 30 seconds each, and are said to play both before and during movies and TV shows. Peters has said that new release movies will not have ads during the film, opting instead to keep only pre-roll ads.

The plan was announced back in April, when Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings confirmed rumors that the company was looking at launching an ad-based tier. Per that announcement, Netflix Basic With Ads "represents an exciting opportunity for advertisers – the chance to reach a diverse audience, including younger viewers who increasingly don't watch linear TV, in a premium environment with a seamless, high-resolution ads experience."

Netflix Basic With Ads is set to launch on at 9 a.m. ET on November 3 in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. The plan will first roll out to in Canada and Mexico on November 1. The new tier is set to cost $6.99 per month, compared to the current lowest-prices option, the Basic plan, which currently costs $9.99 per month.