Netflix has been steadily upping the quality of its ad-supported plan, boosting the video resolution while offering two concurrent streams rather than just one. Now, Netflix is teeing up a feature for ad-supported subscribers that its competitors have yet to match: downloads.
In a blog post marking the (almost) one-year anniversary of Netflix “Standard with Ads” (formerly known as “Basic with Ads”), Netflix advertising president Amy Reinhard said that all subscribers on Netflix’s ad-supported plan would be able to download videos for offline viewing by “the end of this week.”
The move will make Netflix the only streamer to allow downloads for ad-supported users, Reinhard noted.
Reinhard didn’t specify whether those downloaded videos will include ads, but they almost certainly will.
In her update, Reinhard said that Netflix has scooped up 15 million global monthly “active” users, up from 5 million users just six months ago.
The Netflix exec also confirmed that an upcoming “binge” ad unit will reward Netflix users who binge-watch three episodes of a show with a fourth ad-free episode.
Netflix launched its ad-supported plan almost exactly a year ago. Originally called Netflix Basic with Ads, the ad-supported tier offered just a single stream at a resolution of 720p for $6.99 a month, and no downloads.
While Netflix recently hiked the price of its Basic and 4K-quality Premium plans (which now cost $11.99 and $22.99 a month, respectively), Netflix’s ad-supported tier has held steady at $6.99/month in the US.
Since last year’s launch, Netflix upped the resolution of its ad-supported tier to 1080p and added a second stream, and it changed the plan’s name to “Standard with Ads” following the phase-out of Netflix’s Basic plan (which is no longer open to new subscribers).
Now that Netflix’s ad-supported plan allows downloads, it’s likely only a matter of time before Disney+, Max, Peacock, and the rest follow suit. Stay tuned.