Why House Of Cards, Arrested Development, And Other Shows Won't Be Available On Netflix's Ad Tier

In case you missed it, Netflix launched their ad-supported tier today. The new model allows users to stream the Netflix library at a lower monthly price, but with included commercial interruptions. The ad-supported option was pitched as a more cost-effective option for viewers continually annoyed by the streamer's rising prices, but the viewers have quickly learned that the Basic with Ads plan is also limited in its catalog accessibility.

Due to licensing restrictions, Netflix Originals like "House of Cards" and the new seasons of "Arrested Development" are not available with the new tier, in addition to shows like "Peaky Blinders," "New Girl," "The Magicians," "The Last Kingdom," "The Sinner," "Good Girls," "Queen of the South," "The Good Place," and "Friday Night Lights." There are also a decent number of movies acquired from a variety of studios that are also unable to be viewed under the plan. The reason being is that Netflix has licensed these programs, rather than own them outright, despite some of them falling under the "Netflix Originals" banner.

To be fair, Netflix executives did mention that somewhere between 5-10% of programming would be unavailable on this plan due to licensing agreements, but it was never mentioned which programs would fall under said percentage. Unfortunately, that percentage of programming includes some of the most-watched and easily-binged series. As frustrating as it may be, it's not as simple as just throwing in commercials before and after each episode. Netflix made most of its acquisition deals before this ad-supported option was available, which means a complete contract revision and retooling of rights agreements was necessary for every title on their platform.

Will these titles ever be available with ads?

As it currently stands, the excluded titles still appear in the Discover tab and can be found using the search function, but a small lock icon appears in the top right corner to designate the show or movie as unavailable. It's possible that this is a way to entice Basic with Ads subscribers toward a more expensive tier or to serve as a placeholder for when a show eventually becomes available on this plan. In my speculative opinion, it's probably a little bit of both. It's difficult to say whether or not the missing titles will ever be available on the Basic with Ads plan at a future date, because it's impossible to know which contracts have yet to be revised and which renegotiations have been outright denied.

The official Netflix website includes the phrasing, "We will evolve the Basic with Ads plan over time," which does seem to indicate more available titles in the future. In an interesting tidbit, Kids' profiles on the streamer will not show ads regardless of the plan, which is great news for anyone worried they'd need to find a babysitter during the day other than "CoCoMelon." The current cost of the Basic with Ads plan is only $6.99 per month, which is much more cost-effective compared to their standard $15.49 per month and $19.99 per month offerings, but without the glory of Buster Bluth screaming his face off.