Netflix with ads won’t let you skip ads or watch shows offline

Netflix’s ad-supported service will cost less than its existing tiers but some restrictions will apply, such as no ad skipping and no offline watching.

A Netflix logo sign on a building in Hollywood, Los Angeles at sunset
Ads on Netflix won’t be skippable | Image: Venti Views / Unsplash
  • What’s happening? Netflix is working on a more affordable, subscription supported by advertising, but restrictions will apply. For example, you won’t be able to download shows offline to watch without an internet connection.
  • Why care? Because video-streaming services are getting pricier. Netflix’s upcoming tier is designed for people who want an inexpensive service.
  • What to do? Now would be a good time to review your subscriptions. Do you really need a bunch of video-streaming services? Do you honestly have the time to watch shows across Netflix, HBO MAx, Prime Video, etc?

Netflix’s ad-supported tier excludes offline watching

Code strings unearthed from Netflix’s iOS app strongly suggest that an ad-supported service won’t support offline watching. “Downloads available on all plans except Netflix with ads,” reads a warning message. That string is already present in the app to support an upcoming ad-supported tier when it launches.

Bloomberg reports that Netflix with ads will not permit the viewer to skip ads. To make sure ads run uninterrupted, the app will temporarily hide playback controls until an ad finishes playing. Read: How to loop YouTube videos and playlists

Netflix has not said how much an ad-driven tier will cost consumers. The company is currently working on it and expects to launch it sometime in 2023.

How much does Netflix cost?

Netflix currently offers three different subscriptions: Basic, Standard and Premium.

The Basic plan costs $10/month and limits your streaming to one screen in a paltry 480p resolution. The Standard plan upgrades your viewing to 1080p resolution in exchange for $15.49/month. The flagship Premier plan bumps up the resolution to 4K and lets you stream on four devices at once.

There are some other benefits and drawbacks associated with each plan, which you can explore in detail on the Netflix Help Center. Aside from an ad-supported service (which Netflix has never done since its inception), the company will attempt to mitigate user and revenue loss by imposing restrictions on password sharing.

Streaming services are getting pricier

There’s no denying the fact that the streaming landscape is right now undergoing some pretty tectonic shifts. For example, the bundle is back—as we saw with Disney’s offerings which combine Hulu and ESPN access.

And everyone and their brother now has a streaming service. But most importantly, we’re seeing some unpleasant price hikes, with Disney and Hulu the latest services to get more expensive. Read: How to set streaming quality in Apple’s TV app