Netflix recently teased that it had begun developing a cheaper, ad-supported streaming tier as a means of improving its subscription numbers and the mood of investors amid a disappointing earnings report. The New York Times has now shared a story claiming that this option could be released as early as the end of this year, a substantially earlier time frame than what co-CEO Reed Hastings had hinted at during his earnings interview from last month (“next year or two”). It’s unclear how much Netflix’s ad-supported tier might cost, but it will be cheaper than the Standard plan, which costs $15.49/month and includes HD streaming and the ability to watch on two screen simultaneously as some of its perks. The cheapest plan costs $9.99 but is reportedly locked to a dismal 480p or 540p resolution.
In the 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 on the condition of anonymity to describe internal company discussions. The note also said Netflix planned to begin cracking down on password sharing among its subscriber base around the same time, the people said.
Last month, Netflix stunned the media industry and Madison Avenue when it revealed that it would begin offering a lower-priced subscription featuring ads, after years of publicly stating that commercials would never be seen on the streaming platform.