Netflix with ads is getting a massive free upgrade that beats all of its rivals

Man watching Netflix on TV
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Netflix’s ad-supported tier is set to receive an unexpected, but very welcome, upgrade as the streamer has confirmed that users on its most affordable tier will very soon be able to download TV shows and movies for offline viewing. 

Netflix revealed that the ability to download content will come to its ad-supported plan “by the end of the week" via an official blog post. Previously this highly useful feature was only available to subscribers on the more expensive ad-free tiers, but very shortly that will change. 

Our sister site, TechRadar, has confirmed with Netflix that this upgrade will be rolled out in all 12 regions where the "Standard with adverts" plan is available including the U.S. and U.K. In even more surprising news, the same Netflix spokesperson confirmed that downloaded TV shows and movies won’t include advertisements either. 

This announcement is a significant boost for Netflix as it will be the only major streaming service that offers the ability to download content on its ad-supported tier. The likes of Disney Plus and Max continue to lock the ability to download for offline viewing behind a premium paywall. This upgrade makes Netflix’s ad-supported option even more enticing, especially compared to its rivals. 

Netflix is all in on ads

This announcement comes on the first anniversary of Netflix launching its ad-supported tier, and it’s clear that the juggernaut streamer sees this option as a key part of its offering going forward. 

The same blog post confirms that Netflix has amassed 15 million subscribers globally on its ad-supported tier. Of course, this represents a tiny fraction of Netflix’s roughly 250 million active accounts, but it’s a clear indication that an ad-supported tier is viable. 

There is also a real possibility that cheaper ad-supported plans may become more popular in the future as the cost of even basic plans continues to rise across the industry. Apple TV Plus is the most recent streamer to confirm a price hike, and Netflix is rumored to be preparing another increase

Looking a little further ahead, Netflix has more plans for its ad-supported tier. It’s already confirmed that it will launch a new binge-watching initiative in 2024 that will reward watching multiple episodes consecutively with a subsequent ad-free episode. The streamer also notes that it will bring a larger range of ads on its platform in the new year which will include advertisements that incorporate a QR code. 

The competition to be named one of the best streaming services has never been more fierce. But Netflix is certainly not resting on its laurels in this fight. The ability to download content for offline viewing now makes Netflix’s ad-enabled tier arguably the best value-for-money offering out there. Let’s hope that its rival streaming services follow suit in the coming months. 

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.