Netflix just killed the basic tier in this country — why this spells trouble for the rest of us

Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix has been putting its foot on the necks of Frugal Frans this year. First, it launched an anti-password sharing campaign, thwarting non-paying users from enjoying free content from host accounts. And now, the streaming giant is seemingly planning on getting rid of its basic tier – its cheapest ad-free option priced at $10 a month.

How do we know? Well, the streaming giant updated its website for Canadian subscribers, wiping out the affordable Netflix plan. If you're not Canadian, you may be thinking, "What's that got to do with me?" Well, whenever Netflix imposes a major change in one country, it typically means they're in a testing phase. If things go smoothly, Netflix may widen the rollout to more countries, including yours. Dun, dun, dun!

Don't cancel the basic tier if you want to keep it

Canadians who still have their basic-tier plans are safe (for now). However, if Canada-based subscribers cancelled the basic subscription, but wish to resubscribe, they're toast. Netflix won't allow them to do it.

"The basic plan is no longer available for new or rejoining members," Netflix's Canada help page says. "If you are currently on the Basic plan, you can remain on this plan until you change plans or cancel your account."

As mentioned at the outset, Netflix implementing this change in Canada hints that the streaming giant is testing the elimination of the basic tier (perhaps gauging customers'  temperature based on how well they can manage the sudden amendment to the subscription options). Netflix did something similar with its password-sharing crackdown plans. It tested the new policy in countries like Chile, Peru and Costa Rica before rolling it out globally. 

If you dread the thought of paying a penny more than $10 for Netflix (the next available tier, called Premium, sets users back $15.50 a month), but you find the ad-supported, $7-a-month option unappealing, I'd hold on to your basic tier subscription for dear life. If Netflix decides to snatch it away in your country, you won't get it back ever again.

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Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!