UPDATE: According to Netflix, this error message is a glitch, not a representation of a policy change. Netflix VP of Communications Steve Swasey had this to say in an email to GigaOm –
No Netflix member is limited to less than two concurrent streams. A few Netflix members have heard differently from us, which is an error that we are correcting.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: On September 1st, those pesky Netflix price changes went into effect, changing the popular $9.99 streaming + one-DVD-at-a-time plan into two separate, $7.99 plans – ultimately upping the price $6 for the same service.
On that same day they announced the end of their deal with Starz, as negotiations to renew the old 2008 contract failed. This means that in February, Netflix will lose all of its Starz new releases from people like Sony and Walt Disney – as well as the Starz Play streaming content, all of which accounts for about 8% of viewed content according to CEO Reed Hastings.
And as the first week in September comes to a close, Netflix has done something else to likely piss off their subscribers.
Netflix is cracking down on the sharing of memberships, disallowing multiple streams from the same account.
Of course, Netflix has always said that it’s against the rules to stream different content to different devices at the same time with only one streaming plan – but they never really stopped anyone from doing it. I could always login to my account via my Xbox and watch something while someone else used my account to watch something different from their computer.
But apparently, multiple streamers are now receiving this message when logging in to the same account –
If this crack down holds up, that means people wanting to stream more than one program at a time will have to buy another streaming subscription or increases the number of DVDs they can receive at a time. To get two streams, you’ll have to pay $19.98 a month for the two-DVD subscription, three DVDs (three streams) will be $23.98 and four DVDs (four streams) will be $29.98.
Like I said before, this has always been in the rules, just rarely enforced. This is from Netflix’s Terms of Service –
Some membership plans allow you to watch simultaneously on more than one personal computer or Netflix ready device at the same time. If you are on the 1 disc out at-a-time plan [or stream-only plan], you may watch only one device at a time. If you are on the 2 discs out at-a-time plan, you may watch on up to two devices at the same time. Members on the 3 disc plan can watch on up to three devices. The maximum is four devices simultaneously, and that is available for members on the 4 or greater discs out at-a-time plans.
Price hike, content loss and a crack down on streaming – all in the same week. It looks like Netflix is really testing the ol’ customer loyalty. What do you think of all these changes? Let us know in the comments.[Via Stop the Cap]