Netflix forces Basic customers to change subscription

You’ll automatically be moved to the advert tier

Last summer Netflix axed it’s Basic plan for new customers, but existing users could stay on this low cost plan. That’s about the change – here’s what you need to know.

What is Netflix Basic

This Basic level of membership is the one I’ve always felt offered the best value for money. At £7.99 a month you can stream in HD (at 720dpi) and download to your device to watch offline, paying £3 less a month than the next level up.

The only downside is you could only stream on one device at any time, so it’s not great for sharing with others. However, last May’s crackdown on account sharing, which saw the introduction of “Extra Members” for an additional charge (of course), means that you can’t share any level of Netflix.

So unless you lived in the same household where different family members stream or download different shows at the same time, or you desperately want full HD (1080dip) or UHD (4K), then the Basic tier is the winner.

In July 2023 this was removed as an option for people signing up or changing plans, though new customers who got Netflix through Sky and Virgin were able to get this until package until December.

What’s happening?

Existing Basic customers have been able to remain on the plan since the change (albeit it went up from £6.99 to £7.99 a month).

But this week, users on the Basic tier will have received an email from Netflix telling them the Basic plan is to be fully discontinued in the coming weeks.

If you’re affected you’ll automatically be moved onto the Netflix Standard with Adverts plan instead. However you can choose to go for one of the other options instead, though you’ll manually need to select that in your account.

When is it happening?

We’ve seen a few different dates for the changeover. The earliest we’ve spotted is 30 May 2024, and the latest is 28 June.

Since the email was sent on 29 May, it’s likely the move will be tied into your first account renewal date after this, meaning you’ll get at least one more month of Basic, and at most just under two months.

Which Netflix should you choose?

Standard with Ads actually costs less than Basic at £4.99 a month, saving you 35%. It also has better picture quality with full HD and the ability to watch on two devices at the same time (in the same household). However, you will have to put up with adverts before and during your movies and programmes.

If you want to avoid the adverts, then your cheapest option is Standard at £10.99 a month, which will add up to £36 extra over the year.

Or if you know someone who already pays for either Standard or Premium, you can ask them to add on an Extra Member, This costs £4.99 a month, so could actually save you some cash over the year. It’s actually pretty similar to Basic. Though you’ll only have one profile on your account, you will have better picture quality. And of course you don’t have control over your account – that lies with the main account holder. However this can’t be added to accounts paid for via Sky or Virgin.

There’s also the very expensive Premium tier at £17.99. I can’t see the benefit in moving from Basic to this.

TierNew PriceNumber of streamsPicture quality
Standard with Adverts£4.992HD (1080p)
Standard£10.992HD (1080p)
Extra Members£4.991Depends if master plan is Standard or Premium

Should you ditch Netflix?

Unless you’re happy with adverts or someone will add you as an Extra Member, you’re going to be forced to pay more for a very similar product. And if you don’t want to be without Netflix, you might think there’s no choice but to go with it.

But remember, Netflix is a rolling monthly contract, which not only means you can leave at any time, you can also sign up again whenever you want.

So if you were to have Netflix Standard for 8 month of the year you’d pay a total of £87.92. That’s actually cheaper than a full year of Basic (total £95.88).

And if you can reduce how often you have Netflix even more, you’ll save even more. You can also use these Netflix-free periods to try out other streaming services, reducing the likelihood of you paying for multiple steaming services at the same time, and cutting your total bill cost even more.

3 thoughts on “Netflix forces Basic customers to change subscription

  1. The advertising is very minimal.

  2. I received the Netflix email yesterday. I had been meaning to cancel anyway and follow your advice and just dip in and out when there are a few things I want to watch over one month. In truth I find their content library overrated and there can be months when I do not use it at all. Unusually for me I had not got round to that. So to find my monthly sub reduced without any intervention on my part was a pleasant surprise. Does anyone know though what type of/ volume of advertising subscribers are subjected to on this tier?

    1. We’re currently watching series 2 of The Lincoln Lawyer. Last night we watched episode 5 and we had our first advert – very brief and I can’t remember what it was for! So far it would appear that the volume of advertising is pretty minimal.


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