After Netflix dropped its cheapest ad-free plan in Canada last month, it’s now doing the same in the US and UK, as first spotted by Cord Busters. Netflix’s support page in both countries states that the $9.99 (£6.99) / month basic plan is no longer available “for new or rejoining members.”
While reporting earnings on Wednesday afternoon, Netflix said, “In Q1, we lowered prices in a number of less penetrated markets, and in Q2, we phased out our Basic ads-free plan for new and rejoining members in Canada (existing members on the Basic ads-free plan are unaffected). We’re now doing the same in the US and the UK. We believe our entry prices in these countries – $6.99 in the US, £4.99 in the UK and $5.99 in Canada – provide great value to consumers given the breadth and quality of our catalog.”
If you’re already subscribed to the basic plan, you can keep the subscription as long as you don’t cancel it or change plans. But if you were looking to downgrade your Netflix subscription to a cheaper ad-free plan, you’re out of luck. With this change, Netflix now only offers a $6.99 (£4.99) / month ad-supported tier, the $15.49 (£10.99) / month standard plan, and the $19.99 (£15.99) / month premium plan.
The $9.99 / month basic tier served as a middle ground between Netflix’s more expensive ad-free tiers and its ad-supported plan, letting you stream in HD on only one device at a time. Netflix spokesperson Kumiko Hidaka confirmed the removal of the plan in a statement to The Verge, adding that the service’s “starting prices of $6.99 in the US and £4.99 in the UK are lower than the competition.”
During an earnings call on Wednesday afternoon, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters said the streamer’s goal is to “optimize” the service’s plan structure, noting “we want to give consumers access across a wide range” of prices. “We think the entry prices that we have right now represent an amazing entertainment value and are attracting a healthy share of signups.”
Unfortunately, the writing was on the wall for Netflix’s basic plan when it silently removed it in Canada. In the US and UK, Netflix also started hiding the basic plan when new users signed up to the platform, requiring them to click a “see all plans” button for it to appear as an option alongside its other plans. The basic plan also didn’t let you add an extra member to your account as part of its paid sharing policy.
Disclosure: The Verge recently produced a series with Netflix.
Update July 19th, 9:28AM ET: Updated to add a statement from a Netflix spokesperson.
Update July 19th, 4:30PM ET: Added quote from Netflix’s Q2 earnings release.
Update July 19th, 6:35PM ET: Added quote from Netflix’s Q2 earnings call.