Netflix Drops One of Its Cheapest Plans in the U.S. and U.K.

Netflix's Basic With Ads plan is no longer being offered to new subscribers. The cheaper ad-supported plan, which cost $9.99/month in the U.S. and £6.99/month in the U.K. for a single stream, is "no longer available for new or rejoining members," according to Netflix's plans and pricing page. The streamer says existing Basic users "can remain on this plan until you change plans or cancel your account." If new or returning members wish to watch Netflix without ads, subscribers have two options: the Standard ad-free plan ($15.49/month in the U.S., £10.99/month in the U.K.) or the Premium ad-free plan ($19.99/month in the U.S., £15.99/month in the U.K.).

"Our starting prices of $6.99 in the US and £4.99 in the U.K. [for Standard With Ads] are lower than the competition and provide great value to consumers given the breadth and quality of our catalog," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement to Variety. The Basic plan was eliminated in Canada last month.

Netflix's lowest-priced plan is Standard With Ads, which costs $6.99 per month but does not include full access to the Netflix library. The ad-supported plan makes "all but a few movies and TV shows available," which Netflix says is "due to licensing restrictions."

The streamer introduced its Basic With Ads plan in November. The plan reportedly proved unpopular in its first month, with 9% of Netflix's U.S. subscriber sign-ups purchasing the ad-supported tier, according to research firm Antenna (via Variety). By May, that number increased to 25%.

The move comes after Netflix cracked down on password sharing, limiting subscribers' accounts to "people who live together in a single household." Standard With Ads subscribers can stream on two supported devices at a time in the same household; Standard users have unlimited ad-free access on two devices at a time, with the option to add one extra member who doesn't live in the household; while Premium users can watch ad-free Netflix on four devices at a time with the option to purchase two extra members outside of the household. 

Netflix first announced plans to introduce ads to the formerly ad-free platform last April. Then Co-CEO Reed Hastings at the time said that 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."