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(Pocket-lint) - Netflix has reportedly brought forward the launch of an ad-supported membership tier. It now plans to offer the cheaper tier as "early as the end of 2022".

The streaming service has been considering a separate subscription tier for a while, with Netflix founder Reed Hastings recently admitting that it is "quite open to offering even lower prices with advertising, as a consumer choice". However, he also suggested that the plans could take "the next year or two" to come to fruition. Now it seems they have been accelerated.

Employees have allegedly been sent an internal memo with details on the new tier's launch plans, which was shared with the New York Times by two recipients. It reveals the intention to introduce it in the final three months of this year.

The timing makes sense. Netflix has lost a considerable amount of subcribers in recent times, not least as we all emerge from lockdowns and no longer spend as much time at home. It also blames password sharing between households - something the memo also reiterates, with crackdown measures underway.

On top of that, Netflix has raised its pricing globally, at a time when the cost of living is growing rapidly for many.

A cheaper tier might be extremely attractive to those who simply cannot afford to subscribe at the recently increased rates, even if it means putting up with adverts.

Writing by Rik Henderson.