Multiuser rental streams, family plans coming to Netflix?

An upcoming virgin voyage into the expensive world of original programming; spats with content providers; and pressure over bandwidth costs. Netflix faces all three moving forward.

The successful company, however, isn’t letting those behind-the-scenes issues take center stage in lieu of catering to a changing market. Or at least that’s what recent changes to its Investor FAQs suggest. The company’s static subscription model may receive a shake-up soon.

You don’t get to 60 million paying subscribers without making a few changes.

“Our $7.99-per-month plan is for one stream at a time, and later this year we expect to be able to offer consumers some account options to watch multiple simultaneous streams,” reads an updated Investor FAQs page. “Or it could be that there is a price point that would encourage multiple accounts in one household.”

Specific details on price and launch date have not been released, but the company is taking a new look at just how its customers consume entertainment and how that apparent change should be addressed at the subscription level.

Tech site Gigaom likens the idea to a family cell phone plan, and based on what the company’s said so far the propagation of smart phones is certainly a motivating factor behind the planned tweaks:

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. As we think about this shift from a household to a personal relationship, we are starting to think internally that our opportunity could be viewed as the number of mobile phone subscribers, a group that both invests in electronic content and can afford $7.99 for home entertainment.

Netflix earned its top spot as a streaming VOD and movie rental provider by giving the people what they want. And people want options.

Originally the company’s focus was snail mail DVD rentals, but a move into the burgeoning digital space solidified its success. A presence on all three current video game consoles (with a version for the new Nintendo 3DS handheld planned for this summer) proved a sensible follow-up move.

Branching out to offer multiple streams for families that watch movies on smart phones, video game consoles, tablets, PCs and the good old TV makes sense. But will subscribers bump their monthly subscription plan for a new one? More importantly, will the option sway new customers eager for the convenience of movie streaming across multiple devices but hesitant over limitations? (Via Home Media Magazine)

Are you excited over this new streaming prospect, or will it be a subscription option left unchecked on your account? Let us know in the comment section.