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Tuesday April 19, 2011 6:50 pm

Netflix considering family plans for multiple Watch Instantly streams


Netflix family plan

Netflix is considering a plan that would allow subscribers to watch concurrent "Watch Instantly" streams on the same account.

Similar to how Netflix DVD customers can opt to have more than one DVD out at a time, Netflix streaming customers could add a customer to their account, allowing one person to stream a movie on a laptop while another person watches on a tablet, for example.

The move comes as Netflix starts to think of membership opportunities as it relates to individuals rather than households.

"As streaming has become central to our business, we believe there may be an opportunity to change our focus from a household relationship to an individual relationship, since streaming is viewed on personal devices, such as phones, tablets, and laptops, as well as on shared large screen televisions," Netflix said in a note to investors.

As a result, Netflix said it plans to start offering the concurrent streaming plan later this year, though "we are still thinking about how to best do it." It also thinking about a price point that might encourage multiple accounts in one household, like a Netflix family plan.


"In either case, our long-term goal is to evolve the Netflix service so that it feels more natural to have a personal account," the company said. "We will also be working on broader Facebook integration which we hope will further the notion of personal accounts."

In 2008, Netflix decided to do away with its "profiles" feature, which let people set up separate movie queues within a single account. Just two weeks later, however, customer backlash prompted Netflix to nix plans to cancel the service.

Netflix also said it will expand into markets beyond the U.S. and Canada in the second half of 2011, though it did not say where. In looking at regions, however, Netflix said it evaluates the competitive landscape, the ability to get licenses for content, the number of broadband households, and the market penetration of devices that can receive Netflix streaming.

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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