Netflix removes the $10 tier from its plans

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Where's this whole streaming mess going? Analysts give their opinion.

The great streaming squeeze has taken another turn with Netflix kicking its basic $10-a-month plan off its options list.

By itself, it’s not that big of a deal, but when you consider that consumers now have one less choice where they can save money, it forces a new subscriber to either move up to the Standard package at $15.50/mo., or the $20/mo., Premium package. Or if saving money is a must, then move down and be forced to take the ad-driven option at $7/mo. 

For the time being, as long as people are not canceling their memberships or changing subscriptions, they can keep the Basic ad-free plan.

The new rate structure

What can a new Netflix subscriber expect to pay for a subscription? According to the company’s website, the pricing now runs: 

Standard with ads: $6.99 / month. It’s important to note that not all movies are available. When we tried to watch ‘A Man Called Otto,’ ‘Sleepless in Seattle,’ and ‘Skyfall,’ we saw a “lock” that indicated the movie was not available under this plan.

However, when it comes to mobile games, the company says that those are “unlimited.” Under this plan, subscribers can watch on two supported devices at a time, and watch in full HD. 

One other note is that while other tiers allow subscribers to add another person to their plan, the Standard with ads plans does not.

Standard: $15.49 / month (extra member slots can be added for $7.99 each / month). Unlimited ad-free movies, TV shows, and mobile games

  • Watch on – and download to – two supported devices at a time

  • Watch in Full HD

Premium: $19.99 / month (extra member slots can be added for $7.99 each / month)

  • Unlimited ad-free movies, TV shows, and mobile games

  • Watch on four supported devices at a time

  • Watch in Ultra HD

  • Download on six supported devices at a time

  • Option to add up to two extra members who don't live with you

  • Netflix spatial audio

The money-grab vs. the consumer satisfaction

Netflix's latest move may seem like a big gamble – especially after last year when the company suffered a net loss of a million subscribers worldwide –  but the upside is hard for the company to resist.

For the second quarter of 2023, Netflix reported a global gain of nearly 5.9 million new subscribers and if you do the math on the difference between the old $10 plan and the Standard one at $15.50, the company could rake in an additional $30 million a month if those new subscribers keep coming in at the same rate.

And that "if" is one to watch. It's no secret that this whole streaming service reset is causing consumers to question where their streaming dollar should be going. But it's far from over, suggests one expert.

"With most [subscription video on-demand] providers still bleeding cash, growing subscriptions has taken a backseat to optimizing revenue via higher prices, layoffs, and decreased content spending, among other measures," analysts at AlumnaInsights told ConsumerAffairs in an email.

"Add to this the ongoing strike of writers and actors, and it is all but certain the quality of content will decline even as prices increase."

However, the analysts do like what they're seeing from streaming operators who are bundling services and offering them at a discounted price, and think that they deserve some attention.

"Intra-network bundles like Disney's package of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ have largely run their course and will take a back seat to so-called 'super bundles' that more closely resemble pay-TV services—not MVPDs [Multichannel Video Programming Distributor like Dish Network and DirecTV] per se, but app bundles that borrow several key elements of that model," the analysts said.

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