- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Netflix Inc. is giving youngsters and their parents a new reason to embrace its Internet video subscription service in the wake of price increases that dismayed many customers.

A “Just For Kids” tab has been added to subscribers’ accounts on the Netflix website. Clicking on the feature will pull up a list of child-friendly recommendations drawn from about 1,000 movies and TV shows in Netflix’s Internet video streaming library.

It won’t suggest titles that are only available as DVD rentals delivered through the mail. That’s an option Netflix reportedly is trying to make less enticing to subscribers so it can save postage and spend more money expanding its selection of video streaming options.

As part of its de-emphasis on DVDs, Netflix last month announced that it will begin charging separately for unlimited video streaming and through-the-mail DVD rentals, which previously were bundled. Beginning Sept. 1, Netflix’s 24.6 million U.S. subscribers who want DVDs and unlimited streaming will have to buy the plans separately. The change will translate into a rate hike of up to 60 percent, or $6 per month for those getting one DVD at a time. Tens of thousands of subscribers have posted angry comments on the Internet promising to close their Netflix accounts in protest.

The children’s feature grew out of Netflix’s recognition that its video streaming service is making it easier for kids to watch movies on a variety of devices at almost any time and any place with a high-speed Internet connection. The video can be streamed through many video game consoles, the iPad tablet computer and smartphones. Netflix makes it even easier by allowing several people from the same household to stream through the same account.

That convenience and affordable pricing has established Netflix has a major provider of children’s entertainment. The company, which is based in Los Gatos, Calif., says about half its subscribers have watched at least two movies or TV shows made for kids within the past 90 days.

Netflix has been mulling a change that would eliminate household sharing of Internet video streaming and require each individual user to pay a monthly fee. The decision to create a kids-only section within its streaming library shouldn’t be interpreted as a sign that Netflix is moving any closer to charging each user, said Todd Yellin, the company’s vice president of product innovation.

“It doesn’t nix that idea [and] it doesn’t fuel that idea,” he said in an interview. “It’s just something that’s a possibility, but not imminent.”

To shape its definition of kids’ entertainment, Netflix relied on ratings from Common Sense Media, a nonprofit group focused on children’s issues. The Netflix children’s section will highlight different categories with icons of popular characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and Hannah Montana to appeal to the new section’s under-12 demographic.

The “Just for Kids” tab initially will be confined to Netflix’s website. Mr. Yellin said the company plans to add the tab to accounts accessed through the Nintendo Wii and other video game consoles, as well as the iPad.

Netflix’s stock fell $5.41, or about 2 percent, to $240.87 in midday trading Tuesday. The stock price has dropped by more than 15 percent since the company announced its rate increase on July 12.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide