Netflix Fans Angry And Threaten Cancelling Subscription Over Huge Membership Change

By Douglas Helm | Published

Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and Netflix pissing off its subscriber base. The streamer recently rolled out its previously announced plans to get rid of the ad-free Basic tier and automatically enroll customers in the Standard with Ads tier instead. So far, an email has been sent to the UK, Canada, and Australia that the switchover would take place on June 4, and it seems likely that US customers can expect a similar communication from the company soon.

Netflix Basic Is No More

The Netflix Basic tier has been a popular option for customers who want a more affordable option without invasive and annoying ads. The Basic tier costs $9.99 in the US and £7.99 in the UK and streams in 720p video quality. Though this is far from the highest quality of streaming the company offers subscribers, many customers prefer the lower resolution to the higher prices or the ads of the lesser tier.

Company Considers This A Positive For Consumers

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Netflix’s email reportedly tried to make it seem like subscribers were getting a good thing, stating that the switchover would come at a cheaper price ($6.99 for US customers and £4.99 for UK users), the ability to download shows and movies on two devices, and the ability to stream in 1080p. However, subscribers will have to watch ads for every hour of streaming. Inevitably, subscribers weren’t happy about this announcement, with many threatening to cancel their subscriptions for good on social media platforms.

Netflix Remains Popular

Despite the backlash, Netflix has historically had no problems making its customers mad with price hikes, password-sharing crackdowns, and other disagreeable changes to the service. In fact, the decision to nix the Basic tier will likely continue the company’s streak of profitability in recent years. The streamer is projected to pull in $1 billion in ad revenue in 2024, which is up 50 percent from its 2023 ad revenue numbers.

Impacts 20 Million U.S. Subscribers

Furthermore, Variety says that Netflix’s US subscriber base includes over 20 million Standard with Ads subscribers, 27 percent of its total US user base. Those who want to keep their subscription without ads will be forced to upgrade to the Standard or Premium tiers, which will continue to bolster the streamer’s revenue. While there will surely be those who drop the service entirely, increasing ad revenue and membership fees may be a profitable decision, albeit not a popular one.

Customer Sentiment Goes Down While Profits Go To The Moon

Netflix has made quite a few controversial, non-consumer-friendly decisions in recent years, and it seems to be paying off. The company’s Q1 earnings report blew past Wall Street’s expectations, and the company saw a 16 percent increase in subscribers in the quarter as well. As divisive as the company is, it still seems to have a big stranglehold on the streaming industry.

Change In Content Philosophy

Netflix also made some controversial statements about its creative output in recent months, with the company’s film chief, Dan Lin, stating that the streamer is looking to focus on audiences instead of auteurs (the recent lack of fanfare around Rebel Moon Part 2 is an example of this change). In other words, Netflix is seemingly prioritizing commercial success over creativity. Along with the subscription changes, it seems like there will eventually be a time when these decisions cause some troubles for the streaming company.