Rumor: Netflix planning streaming-only service for the USA

Netflix is reportedly working on a new streaming-only movie rental plan that will offer United States subscribers plans beginning at $7.99 per month.

The current plan for $8.99 per month includes one DVD rental at a time, but that plan is rumored to increase up to $9.99 per month soon.  The rental company still relies on its DVD rental business, but understands there is now more interest in streaming-only.

Netflix didn't confirm the rumor, but it's difficult to believe Netflix doesn't have a US streaming-only subscription plan in the works.

Netflix already launched in Canada with a $7.99 monthly streaming-only plan, which marked the company's introduction to the international market. Canada is seen as the first step in the company's anticipated slow international rollout, now that the service boasts more than 15 million monthly subscribers.

Partly in response to the Netflix Canadian offering, Blockbuster flocked to Canada with a $9.99 per month unlimited DVD rental plan.

I like the idea of a streaming only feature, especially since I tend to forget to mail DVDs back so I never seem to get a new one. It also allows me to watch a wider selection of movies.

Netflix's streaming ventures are a step in the right direction, but there are still a few problems that will have to be solved in the future. Netflix has reached 28-day rental window agreements with Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers and Universal in 2010 -- each studio angered by $1 rental kiosks and DVD services that undercut the DVD new release sales market.

The company must also deal with Hulu Plus and other rivals that want a piece of the streaming subscription market.

Most recently, Netflix reached a rental delay agreement with Sony, with the majority of Hollywood movie studios looking to control the DVD rental market windows. As DVD sales slide and consumers continue to adopt Blu-ray, streaming services remain an important, frontier market for studios looking to rent and sell content above and beyond physical media.

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