Netflix Gives Budget-Conscious Subscribers the Shaft

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Matthew Modine as Dr. Brenner (left) and Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven (right)

Credit: Netflix

Once the king of all streaming platforms, Netflix has fallen on hard times. In the United Kingdom, for example, the streamer has lost numerous popular series — including Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, and Sons of Anarchy — to Disney+, and found itself losing the battle to keep 750,000 subscribers in that region.

Maya Hawke as Robin (left), Joe Keery as Steve (middle), and Joseph Quinn as Eddiie (right)
Credit: Netflix

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In the United States, Netflix has also been struggling to maintain subscribers amid the rise of other options like Disney+Hulu, HBO Max, NBC’s Peacock, and more.

As a matter of fact, Netflix recently lost the rights to all of its Marvel series — Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Punisher, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders.

Charlie Cox as Daredevil
Credit: Marvel Studios

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The shows have now landed on Disney+ following the official Marvel Cinematic Universe debuts of two fan-favorite Daredevil characters, Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox) in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) and Wilson Fisk/Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) in Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld’s Disney+ Original Hawkeye series.

Furthermore, for persepctive, a single episode of Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni’s Disney+ Original series, The Book of Boba Fett starring Temuera Morrison (Boba Fett) and Ming-Na Wen (Fennec Shand), had more viewers than entire seasons of some Netflix series, including The Great British Baking Show, which enjoys a cult following.

din djarin (front) and boba fett (back) in book of boba fett finale battle
Credit: Lucasfilm

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In a bid to keep budget-conscious subscribers happy, Netflix — much like Disney+ and other streaming platforms — is rolling out a lower priced, ad-supported tier. Recently, it emerged that the new version of Netflix might lack certain programming, an issue that frustrated some subscribers who want to save money.

Now, it seems that Netflix is once again giving their most budget-conscious consumers the shaft, this time by removing a popular feature from the ad-supported option.

Via Bloomberg, TechCrunch’s Steve Moser shared, “Downloads available on all plans except Netflix with ads,” reads text in the Netflix app. Moser also noted that the code for the ad-based plan confirms commercials are not skippable and users won’t have access to playback controls during ad breaks.

The Gray Man (2022). Ryan Gosling as Six. Cr. Paul Abell/Netflix © 2022
Credit: Netflix

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Moser also discovered that users will be able to customize what types of ads they’d like to see. The set-up dialogue reads, “We just need a few details to make sure you get the most relevant ads on Netflix. It’ll be really quick, we promise!”

The ability to download shows and movies to watch offline is a major perk for people who don’t want to overuse their monthly data allotment on the go, have slow home WiFi connections, or spend a lot of time in airports. Knowing that downloading will not be available to Netflix’s ad tier subscribers is likely to deter many people, keeping them on the more expensive plan — or causing them to cancel altogether.

What do you think? Will this move backfire and will Netflix lose subs, or are projects like Stranger Things, Bridgerton, and The Gray Man franchise enough to keep fans?

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