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Netflix to Offer Individual Profiles on Family Accounts

The profiles, which will make it easier for individuals to find their favorite movies and television shows, is the latest effort by  Netflix Inc. to cement its subscriber base as competition in the market increases. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg
The profiles, which will make it easier for individuals to find their favorite movies and television shows, is the latest effort by Netflix Inc. to cement its subscriber base as competition in the market increases. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Netflix Inc. will offer personalized profiles in its video-streaming service to family members sharing one account, allowing individuals to catalog shows they have watched and receive recommendations.

With the enhancement, which is being introduced today, new and existing users of the world’s largest subscription streaming service will be able to create up to five individual profiles in one household using Netflix’s $7.99 monthly plan, Neil Hunt, chief product officer, said in an interview.

The profiles, which will make it easier for individuals to find their favorite movies and television shows, is the latest effort by the Los Gatos, California-based company to cement its subscriber base as competition in the market increases. Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings has said individual profiles will make Netflix customers less inclined to cancel as Amazon.com Inc., Hulu LLC and others ramp up their offerings to challenge the company’s leading position.

“It’s all about finding the right choices for each person to watch,” Hunt said. “Most members, including people in a family, have pretty different tastes.”

The updated software first will become available to customers who access the service on Sony Corp. PlayStation and Microsoft Corp. Xbox 360 consoles, Web-connected televisions, mainstream computers and Apple Inc. devices. Users who connect through Nintendo Co.’s Wii console will get the service by the end of August and those using devices with Google Inc.’s Android operating system by winter, Hunt said.

Individual profiles also will make it easier for users to stop watching a movie or show on one device and pick up where they left off on others, he said.

Movie Libraries

In March, Netflix began offering U.S. subscribers the ability to peer into each others’ digital movie libraries through an expanded partnership with Facebook Inc., updating features offered to international users. In June, the company introduced a new “Netflix Families” page, featuring rows of curated content pushing kids programming to win more subscribers.

Investors and analysts are watching Netflix for signs its subscriber growth has peaked. The company last month reported 630,000 new U.S. streaming customers in the second quarter, about 100,000 less than what analysts estimated, even after introducing the high-profile original series “Arrested Development” and “Hemlock Grove” in the period.

Netflix shares, which have more than doubled this year, rose less than 1 percent to $244.48 yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cliff Edwards in San Francisco at cedwards28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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