Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

The ad-supported plan is fine after months on Netflix

By nr39r Jul4,2024

We talked to a number of Xataka editors about why they subscribe to the most affordable ad rate.

When people think of streaming services, Netflix immediately comes to mind. Since millions of people rely on the platform, when significant changes are implemented, users often have to reevaluate their priorities or how they interact with the service. For instance, if the platform were to declare that it will prohibit account sharing or if it were to increase pricing or restructure rates by providing ad-supported formulae, for instance.

Those who have used ad-supported streaming services before, such as YouTube or Spotify, are familiar with the concept: you pay less each month in exchange for commercial breaks throughout your streaming. This concept has been around for a while on Netflix and will eventually make its way to all platforms (Prime Video has a timetable for Spain: April 9). Some customers have opted to pay more in order to avoid adverts, while others have chosen the opposite approach. Some of our coworkers have shared their stories with us after using this option.

“A subscriber since September 2016,” says César Muela. It was the first step into watching paid movies and TV shows online, and even though I share content with services like Disney+ and HBO Max, I still watch at least one Netflix original every month. “I have been subscribed to the platform since 2018 but I had a break last year with the last increase when I saw that it seemed like a rip-off what I was paying,” José Alberto Lizana said of his less-than-peaceful relationship. At the start of this year, I went back to using the ad-supported plan to watch movies and TV shows on occasion, primarily on weekends.

At last, Alex Alcolea informs 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.” That is to say, our interviewees aren’t always subscribing to our platform exclusively; in fact, even that service goes down every so often, with fluctuations in availability based on viewer interest in certain shows.

In concrete terms, this means that the standard rate will be going up in price. There will be two tiers of rates: one that is more expensive and supports more simultaneous devices and has significantly better image quality, and another that is cheaper than the standard rate but has ads instead of all the other features. Without a doubt, before using the service, each user needs to thoroughly consider their needs, expectations, and budget.

To get down to brass tacks, we inquire as to the reasoning behind our coworkers’ decision to go with the ad-supported plan. “I live alone and it’s the cheapest option for me,” César said, explaining why he changed to that plan. Up until recently, my friends and I shared one account. However, when we saw the price hikes and the fees associated with shared accounts, they finally had enough. The removal of 4K content was the main issue for me, aside from the ads. Unfortunately, there isn’t presently a cheap way to watch in high quality in Spain; the going rate is €17.99 per month, which is too expensive for someone like me who just uses it sometimes.

The price was the major draw for Jose, so he decided to give the plan a go and see if the advertising were too annoying. And to be honest, I don’t mind the commercials at all because they’re brief and seamlessly integrated into the shows I’ve seen. So, in both instances, people considered the benefits and drawbacks and ultimately opted to endure the commercials’ intrusion in return for a reduced price. Additionally, Alex tells us straight out that “the price” was the deciding factor. 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.

Examining the advertisements, are they really so bothersome? “From what I can tell, the amount of advertisements is heavy, particularly in the original titles,” César remarks. Two brief commercial breaks occur at the start of each show, and another one occurs midway through. While I have experienced fewer than four or five ad interruptions on occasion, they have occurred. I would seek for alternatives if it were the norm, since that’s where my frustration begins. Ad blocks were already a part of Prime Video and “Operación Triunfo 2023,” so I was familiar with the format.

While the interruption may be startling at first, Alex assures us that he consciously changed his strategy with the knowledge that there would be advertisements. They show up at random and occasionally interrupt crucial scenes, so clearly they weren’t well-planned. Oh well. It’s also true that I can sometimes watch an entire show in one sitting, ad-free.

At this point, the most important thing to note is that everyone is still smiling despite the problems. “For series, which is the majority of content I consume on Netflix, the price difference is not worth it,” says César; “I have not considered going back to a higher resolution with the current policies and content” says Álex; and Jose says, “I don’t think 4K quality is worth that price.” This is in response to our question about whether they have thought about tweaking their plan.


By nr39r

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