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What's with the name?

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the internet is serious business

Netflix Makes a New Family Plan for All You Worthless Freeloaders


As far as allowing you freedom to watch, Netflix is pretty good about things. You can register up to six devices to an account at one time, and stream simultaneously to two. It’s also pretty cool about passwords and log ons. No digging into your cable provider’s website to find your registration info, or worse, calling your friend with HBO and instructing them on how to find that info on their cable provider’s website.

And so Netflix knows that somewhere around 10 million of its subscribers are getting the service for free, by logging in under the accounts of friends or family, but rather than cracking down on those folks, they’re offering another option.

The newly announced Netflix Family Plan costs 50% more than usual (i.e., $11.99), but allows streaming on up to four devices simultaneously. Actually, their exact words were:

A few members with large families run into our 2-simultaneous-stream limit. To best serve these members, we’re shortly adding a 4-stream plan, at $11.99 in the U.S., and we expect fewer than 1% of members to take it.

Which is to say: look, we know y’all give out your Netflix passwords like candy, and we could try to crack down on that kind of thing and make everybody’s life miserable. But how about instead we make it easier for you to do that… provided you fork over a few more dollars. Less than you’d be paying for two accounts, but at least we’re getting something out of you.

While even Netflix is taking the position that grabbing a family plan is probably not going to appeal to the majority of their audience, I’m glad that this is their response to the sharing of accounts. And not just because I share an account (with my roommate, and we half the price between us, so don’t even start). Too often the response to piracy these days is to create hurdles for every user to clear, not just the guilty. A better tactic, in my opinion, is for companies to incentivize non-piracy, in Netflix’s case by making it easer for a nominal fee, rather than disincentivizing piracy by penalizing a large number of users indiscriminately.

(via HuffPo.)

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  • http://twitter.com/niki_dav niki greer davis

    I’m one of those who has a large family (I guess three kids and an adult is considered large these days?? that hits the limit on an almost daily basis. “MOOOOOOM, get off Netflix, I gotta get my Doctor Who fix NOOOOOW”. I’ll pay the $12 gladly.

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    Online streaming: Netflix does it right.

  • http://manicsquirrel.com Carla Lewis

    I’m still bent about them taking away my DVD rentals.

  • http://twitter.com/ribbonquest Ribbonquest

    I ran into the 2 stream limit when my husband and 2-year-old wanted watch My Little Pony in different rooms from each other and I wanted to watch Downton Abbey. We’ve learned to work with the limitations but it’s nice they have this option when it one day becomes a real issue.

  • Anonymous

    We watch netflix enough to keep paying for it, but not enough that this has really been an issue. Glad to see a reasonable option for those who need it.

  • http://twitter.com/sara_smile Sara

    I think this is a great idea. Only my brother and I use it and we split the cost so even if we both watch it we are at the two device limit. And its also good for those that do need more than the two streams and that its an option. Good on netflix.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    What do you mean taking them away?

  • http://manicsquirrel.com Carla Lewis

    There was a point in time where streaming customers also had free DVD rentals. If a movie or show wasn’t available as streamed, it would be delivered as a DVD. Netflix then split that into two business models. In order to keep DVD rentals, I had to pay double what I originally paid: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/19/us-netflix-idUSTRE78I23B20110919

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1556839676 Sarah Cassill

    NetFlix’s very existence probably cuts piracy way down– I think a lot of people check NetFlix FIRST and then only go to the torrent sites if they can’t find what they want….

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Clark/874030480 Jonathan Clark

    Hmmm…availability vs all the pop-up ads. I’m still avoiding Netflix, but this is on the right track towards making me feel more charitable towards them.