Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

Months have passed since I subscribed to Netflix’s ad-supported plan.

By triji Mar 26, 2024
News

We talked to a number of Xataka editors who have signed up for the most affordable ad rate and asked them why they did it.

When it comes to video streaming, Netflix is now practically a byword. Since millions of people rely on the platform, major changes to it force them to reevaluate their priorities or how they interact with the service. That is, for instance, in the case that the platform declares its intention to prohibit account sharing, or if it decides to increase charges, or recalculates the rates by suggesting formulae with adverts.

Everyone who has used an ad-supported streaming service, such as YouTube or Spotify, knows what it is: you pay less each month in exchange for commercial breaks during your streaming. The recipe has been available on Netflix for some time and will be available on all platforms at some point (April 9th is Prime Video’s announced date for Spain). Even though a lot of people have opted to pay more to avoid adverts, some have chosen to do the exact opposite. Several of our coworkers who have used this feature have kindly agreed to share their thoughts with us.

According to César Muela, “a subscriber since September 2016” describes him. It was the first step into watching movies and TV shows online for a fee, and even though I share content with services like Disney+ and HBO Max, I still manage to fit in a few Netflix episodes each month.

“I have been subscribed to the platform since 2018 but I had a break last year with the last increase I saw that what I was paying already seemed like a theft,” José Alberto Lizana said of his less-than-peaceful interaction. At the start of this year, I came back with the intention of using adverts to watch movies and TV shows occasionally, particularly on weekends.

Finally, Álex Alcolea tells us that “with the arrival of HBO Max and Disney+, Netflix went from being my main platform to one that I only have for series like Stranger Things and that type of exclusive content.” So, our platform isn’t the only one our interviewers use; in fact, even that service goes down every so often, with fluctuations depending on how popular the shows are.

Actually, it’s just a price hike for the standard rate; there are two tiers: one expensive tier with more simultaneous devices and significantly better image quality, and another tier that’s cheaper than the standard tier, has all the same specs (including where to download programs and how many simultaneous devices it supports), but is ad-supported. Without a doubt, before using the service, each user needs to carefully consider their needs, expectations, and budget.

To get down to brass tacks, we probe by inquiring as to the reasoning behind our coworkers’ decision to go with the advertising plan. Because he lives alone and found that to be the most cost-effective alternative, César opted to switch to that plan.

Before the latest price hikes and the fee for shared accounts, my buddies and I had an account that we shared, but they finally had enough. The removal of 4K content was my main gripe, aside from the ads themselves. Unfortunately, at the moment, there is no cheap way to watch in Spain at full resolution without paying €17.99 per month, which is too much for a single person like me to afford. I don’t think I can make good use of it.

“I was particularly drawn to the price of this plan and decided to try to see if the ads were very invasive or not,” Jose tells us. Because they are brief and cleverly timed, I actually don’t mind the commercials during the shows I’ve watched.

They considered the benefits and drawbacks and ultimately opted to put up with the commercials in both circumstances so that they could get a better deal. “The price” was the deciding factor, according to Álex, who tells us this without reservation. I wanted to cut costs anywhere I could, so I unsubscribed from the 4K plan once they announced the shared account policy and I noticed it was getting harder and harder to discover content that I liked on the site.”possible” .

Let’s take a closer look at the commercials; are they really so bothersome? “From what I can tell, the amount of advertisements is quite heavy, particularly in the original titles,” César remarks. In most episodes, you’ll see a couple of brief commercial breaks at the beginning and middle of the show.

Four or five commercial interruptions have happened on rare occasions, but they have happened. I would definitely seek for alternatives if that were the norm, since that is when the annoyance begins for me. The combination of Prime Video and “Operación Triunfo 2023,” which featured ad units, had gotten me accustomed to it.

“It was shocking at first, but I changed the plan knowing there would be ads,” Álex tells us, his perspective. They show up at random and occasionally cut out a crucial moment, so clearly they weren’t well-planned. Oh well. It’s also true that I’ve been known to binge-watch a whole chapter right before an ad breaks.

At this point, the fact that everyone is content despite the difficulties is noteworthy. “For series, which is the majority of content I consume on Netflix, the difference in price is not worth it,” says César; “I have not considered returning to a higher resolution with the current policies and contents,” says Álex; and Jose says, “I think 4K quality is not worth that price.” Their answers are unanimous when we ask if they have thought about changing their plan.

How is Netflix’s ad strategy coming along? Antenna, a consulting business, produced a study in December 2022, one month after the introduction in the US, that estimated the efficacy of this new plan: a dismal 9% of new registrations had chosen this choice. As our coworkers recounted months later, a large portion of those customers were actually existing subscribers making the switch from more costly plans, rather than new audiences drawn in by the discounts.

In its 2023 financial report, Netflix detailed some of its plans for the following year, which saw an increase of 13 million subscribers compared to the previous year: do away with its most affordable ad-free option, which was priced at about eight euros and served as a middle ground between the standard and premium plans. It has already been disabled for new users at that point, and it will be fully removed from all users in the second quarter of 2024.This option’s message is crystal clear: Netflix wants us to pay more than its competitors or watch material with advertisements, which also has its benefits. This predicament is a perfect illustration of the concerns voiced by our coworkers while weighing the pros and cons of potential contracts.

From what the three of them have informed us, the plan that enables improved image and audio quality is too pricey. The old question arises again: is it worth it to sacrifice some convenience for a higher price? People don’t mind watching lower-quality versions of Netflix, but it seems like everyone has it as a supplementary “must have” choice. Undoubtedly, a viewpoint that Netflix holds in relation to the implementation of its ambitions.

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