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Netflix’s free tier won’t let users download shows or skip adverts

‘Downloads available on all plans except Netflix with ads’, code in the

Adam Smith
Thursday 18 August 2022 12:53 BST
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(AFP via Getty Images)
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Netflix’s new ad-supported tier might come with a severe setback.

Code in the Netflix iOS app suggest that users will not be able to download shows and movies to their devices for offline viewing, according to Bloomberg.

“Downloads available on all plans except Netflix with ads,” according to text in the app. It is also suggested that users will not be able to skip ads or use playback controls using the ad breaks.

The streaming giant did not comment.

Netflix has also suggested that not all the content on its platform will be available on its ad-supported tier.

While “the vast majority of what people watch on Netflix” can be included in the ad-supported tier, “there are some things that don’t — that we’re in conversation about with the studios on”, the company’s co-chief executive Ted Sarandos said.

“If we launched the product today, the members in the ad tier would have a great experience. We will clear some additional content, but certainly not all of it, but we don’t think it’s a material holdback to the business.”

Netflix has had to add an ad-supported tier as subscribers and revenue falls - losing 200,000 subscribers during the first three months of the year amid stiffer competition and rising inflation that has pressured household budgets.

As well as this new tier, Netflix is introducing restrictions on password sharing - charging people extra if they use their account in more than one place.

Netflix will scan users’ devices and their account activity to find out when their logins are being used. It will cost $2.99 for each extra location one.

“Information such as IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity” will be used to monitor users, Netflix says.

The news also comes as the cost of living crisis has made it difficult for users to subscribe consistently.

Figures from Ofcom suggest that the number of households subscribing to at least one streaming service has fallen by more than 350,000 - although nearly three-quarters subscribers who had cancelled a service earlier this year said they thought they would subscribe again at some point.

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