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Tom Bedford

I binged 8 seasons of a show in 1 month and it made me appreciate Netflix in a new way

James Roday and Dule Hill in Psych.

When Psych joined the UK Netflix library in May 2024 I immediately did what I knew I was going to do, and started to binge watch this 8 season and 120-episode show. Six weeks later, and I've finished it for the nth time. Should I have paced myself? Maybe, but it's too late now.

I'm not going to say how many episodes I watched per day, because it might cause my editor to question if I actually did any work over the last month (Editor: I am wondering), but suffice to say Psych is one of my favorite shows and I knew I was going to smash through it in record time. What I didn't realize, though, is that doing so would make me appreciate Netflix.

You see, it's been a while since I last had a multi-season classic to binge in its entirety (for those of you keeping my biography, it was The Good Place which I finished over a year ago (and yes, it does cause me to question why I subscribe to Netflix when the only shows I enjoy on it aren't Netflix Originals!)). And a lot has changed for Netflix in the last year.

In particular, I appreciated one big change that the streamer made last year, which was contentious at the time, but I've come not to mind as much.

(Image credit: Future)

In November 2022, Netflix rolled out its ad-enabled cheaper plans in various countries, including the UK where I'm based. People weren't too impressed, querying what the point of our video-on-demand future was if we were just getting shown as many adverts as on broadcast TV.

And I for one decided to stick with the ad-free tier, despite the higher price, which is why I didn't watch The Good Place with ads despite the tier being available. But shortly after, in order to save money, I downgraded to the ad-enabled tier.

When I first started using the Netflix with Ads tier, I was expecting to be inundated with ads; in the UK with the commercial channels it can feel like you have 10% of your program to 90% of adverts, and I was expecting Netflix to follow suit. But it didn't.

Psych is the first long show I've binged while on the ad-enabled plan and it's helped me really appreciate just how few adverts Netflix shows with its videos.

Episodes of Psych are about 40 minutes long, and I'd say that I got shown adverts in roughly one out of every three episodes. Ad breaks would be 90 seconds long and would generally include two separate adverts; for the mathematicians out there, that averages to about 45 seconds of advertizing per hour of viewing.

That's not much; bear in mind, if I were to watch an hour of Love Island on ITV there'd be between 10 and 15 minutes of commercial breaks, according to members of What to Watch's team who watch Love Island. In fact, it's barely anything.

If there's one issue I had, it's that there was a real lack of advert diversity, and I'd be shown the same few on repeat. It got to the point that I'll probably tear my hair out if I ever see that bloody Louwe advert again. Netflix really needs to find a few more advertising partners.

But I can overlook this all thanks to the price. I pay £4.99 per month to use this ad-free tier, which equals to under £60 per year. That's less than half the price of Netflix's standard option, at £10.99 monthly, and the only extra benefit of that beyond ad-free streaming is the ability to watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia which annoyingly isn't on the ad tier.

All the major streaming players in the UK have adverts these days, however, I haven't found anything on Disney Plus to binge-watch, and I mainly use Prime Video for movies, so I haven't given their ad plans the thorough testing that Netflix enjoyed via Psych.

With the cost of living creeping up, and the cost of streaming services following suit, ad-enabled streaming plans have become more and more popular, but people have been skeptical about this big change to streaming TV.

But trust me: I've just finished watching an unhealthy amount of Psych in an unhealthier amount of time, and I can confirm that the meager amount of adverts Netflix shows you isn't a problem.

What is a problem is that the Psych movies aren't on Netflix!

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