Streaming giant Netflix could debut its much-expected cheaper, ad-supported tier of service sometime before the end of 2022, the streamer told employees in an internal note.
Netflix executives said they were aiming to introduce the ad tier in the final three months of the year, said two people who shared details of the communication with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity. The note also said Netflix plans to begin cracking down on password sharing among its subscriber base around the same time, the people said.
The company has steadily raised its prices over the last few years, most recently at the beginning of this year. The streamer’s basic plan is now priced at $9.99, up from $8.99, and the standard plan that allows for HD streaming is priced at $15.49, up from $13.99 per month. The highest-tier 4K Ultra HD streaming plan currently costs $19.99, up from a prior $17.99 price point. Netflix is the only streaming provider that charges by the quality of its streams.
Netflix lost subscribers during Q1 2022, marking the first time in more than a decade that this has happened. The streaming giant lost over 200,000 subscribers during the quarter, and the losses show no signs of abating, as it expects to lose two million more subscribers in the second quarter of 2022.
The company is blaming “a large number of households sharing accounts” and “competition” as reasons for the drop-off in subscriber numbers. The streaming service estimates that the 222 million paying households are sharing their account with an additional 100 million households that are not paying for the service.
Netflix began testing an extra payment for those who share their Netflix accounts with people outside their households in March in Peru, Chile, and Costa Rica. Until now, Netflix has ignored password sharing. Netflix said that it was working to “understand the utility of these two features” before making changes in other countries.