Netflix’s new plan: What you need to know


A sign is shown at the headquarters of Netflix in Los Gatos, California September 20, 2011. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (© Robert Galbraith / Reuters)

Netflix is adding a new plan to its mix — one that could make streaming video watchers pretty happy.

The plan, which the company announced Monday with its earnings report, offers subscribers the option to have up to four streams of content playing at the same time from the same account. Right now, users may stream only two videos at once.

The extra streams would likely be welcomed by roommates who share an account for the house or families who have trouble negotiating whose laptop, smartphone or television should get priority on their shared account.

Getting those additional streams will cost subscribers $11.99 per month, or about $4 more than the current streaming-only plan.

Netflix said in its letter to shareholders that the company expects less than 1 percent of all its 36 million streaming users to sign on to the plan.

Netflix also made some announcements about content, with plans for several new shows, including a new season of “Arrested Development” set to debut on May 26.

The company said it’s seen “enormous popular and critical acclaim” for its original series “House of Cards” and even greater success for the horror series “Hemlock Grove.” Netflix also dismissed concerns that its decision to release all episodes of these shows at once would prompt users to sign up for a free trial and watch the entire season before having to pay a subscription fee.

“[There] was very little free-trial gaming — less than 8,000 people did this,” said Netflix executives in the shareholders letter.

Netflix also touted its partnerships with Turner Broadcasting, Warner Bros. and Fox, and took a small shot at the competition. In the letter, executives noted that Amazon’s competing streaming service, Amazon Prime, has only 74 of Netflix’s “Top 200” titles.

The company surprised investors by adding 2 million U.S. subscribers for a total of 29.2 million customers — more subscribers than HBO, according to a report from the Associated Press. The stock shot up in after-market trading. Ahead of Tuesday’s opening bell, shares were up 24 percent at just over $174 per share.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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