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Netflix Ad-Supported Tier Will Not Allow Downloads for Offline Viewing

Matt Tamanini

We’ve known for months that changes were coming to Netflix, and thanks to some tech-savvy snoopers, Bloomberg is reporting on another change coming to the service, even if it isn’t one that is all that surprising. When the streaming giant launches its ad-supported tier in early 2023, it seems that ad-free viewing won’t be the only thing that some customers will have to do without.

According to code found in the streamer’s iPhone app, the lower-cost subscription tier will eliminate the ability for customers to download movies and TV episodes in order to watch them in the app while offline. The feature has long been included in all of the current, ad-free option, but will not be a part of future ad-supported tiers. The ability to download content has become a popular function for viewers, especially while traveling, so that they can continue to watch shows and films even when they are unable to connect to the internet.

However, other than the short-lived Quibi, which was specifically designed to be consumed on the go, no premium subscription service allows customers to download content on an ad-supported plan. Not only is this done, presumably, to differentiate between the differently priced tiers, but also — and likely more importantly — if content is downloaded and viewed offline, then the streamer will not be able to serve ads as efficiently and effectively, making them less valuable to advertisers and more of a nuisance to consumers.

Related: How Will Netflix Incorporate Advertising into Lower-Cost Tiers?

According to Bloomberg, the Netflix code also reveals that viewers will not be able to skip commercials, which is again commonplace in the ad-supported streaming market. However, the code does indicate that the streamer will be looking for direct input into how to tailor the ad experience for individual users.

Reportedly, there is a message built into the app that reads, “Now, let’s set up your ad experience. We just need a few details to make sure you get the most relevant ads on Netflix. It’ll be really quick, we promise!”

Last month, Netflix announced that it would be partnering with Microsoft to run its advertising operation. With no organizational experience in selling or serving ads, Netflix had been talking to a number of different companies with established histories in the advertising and streaming spaces before ultimately settling on Microsoft.

Other than saying that the company had targeted early 2023 as a launch date, the world’s largest streamer has not yet indicated when the lower-priced tier would become available, nor how much of a savings it would offer subscribers. However, industry analysis indicates that the company could pull in an extra $4 billion in U.S. revenue alone, between additional subscriber both and the new found ad sales.

Netflix

Netflix is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 3,000+ movies, 2,000+ TV Shows, and Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, Squid Game, The Crown, Tiger King, and Bridgerton. They are constantly adding new shows and movies. Some of their Academy Award-winning exclusives include Roma, Marriage Story, Mank, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Netflix offers three plans — on 1 device in SD with their “Basic” ($9.99) plan, on 2 devices in HD with their “Standard” ($15.49) plan, and 4 devices in up to 4K on their “Premium” ($19.99) plan.

Netflix spends more money on content than any other streaming service meaning that you get more value for the monthly fee.

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