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04/22/2013 06:20 pm ET

Netflix Family Plan, Friendly Toward Moochers, Lets 4 People Use An Account At Once

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Netflix knows you're sharing your account with your friends. Don't feel too guilty. It's not just you, there are 10 million people watching Netflix for free, according to one analyst's estimate. In order to combat this phenomenon in a very gentle way, Netflix has created a new plan, specifically meant for sharing: a family plan.

In Monday's quarterly letter to shareholders, CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells introduced a $11.99-per-month plan that allows four users to stream simultaneously in the U.S. The current plan that Netflix offers for $7.99 per month limits streaming to two users.

The letter offered this justification for the new plan: "A few members with large families run into our 2-simultaneous-stream limit." But take a moment to imagine a family of four all sitting in different rooms of the house watching different shows on Netflix at the same time. A sad picture, but not necessarily a far-fetched one.

However, what's more likely is that Netflix is trying to squeeze a few more dollars out of subscribers who all know that they aren't suppose to be sharing their accounts with so many people. It's no secret that Netflix subscribers frequently share their login info with coworkers, college friends, roommates and distant cousins. Under the new plan, twice as many moochers will be able to use a single account without having to worry that they will get booted from the site when too many people log in. For current subscribers who have shared their password one too many times, that upgrade might be worth it.

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