Netflix tests new price tiers for video service

Netflix is testing new price plans for streaming video as it tries to lure more viewers.

Among the plans being tested are a $6.99-a-month plan that allows only one video stream to be watched at once, and a $9.99-a-month plan that allows three streams at one time, whether on a TV, tablet or computer.

A Netflix spokesman says not everyone will see the test prices and they may never roll out to all customers.

Netflix’s standard $7.99-a-month plan allows users to watch video on up to 2 screens at once, including TVs and mobile devices. An $11.99-a-month service allows up to four shows at once. Netflix announced that plan in April.

Any move to offer a cheaper service tier would be surprising to some analysts, who expect the company to raise prices eventually to pay for the service’s content.

The lower-priced tier could attract more value-conscious consumers, Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia wrote in a note to investors. But it also could prompt existing customers to trade down, if they cancel and sign back up for the cheaper service.

At the same time, though, Netflix has had to deal with increased competition for its customers. Amazon’s Prime shipping service comes with a video-on-demand service similar to Netflix’s. Redbox, which mostly rents DVDs through kiosks, has also rolled out a streaming video service.

Netflix subscribers have shown they can be fickle about price changes. The company’s stock plummeted by more than 80 percent from highs reached in 2011 after the company imposed pricing changes that triggered a customer backlash.

Netflix’s stock has since made up all those declines and set a new all-time high earlier this month. On Tuesday, its shares fell 21 cents to $366.78 in morning trading.

Introducing original content, such as the shows “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black,” helped Netflix gain new customers this year. Netflix added 1.3 million U.S. subscribers in the third quarter and ended September with 31.1 million.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company also still offers a DVD-by-mail subscription plan starting at $7.99 a month, though it is moving away from that business in favor of delivering video over the Internet.

More in Herald Business Journal

Peoples, HomeStreet banks bump lowest salaries after tax cut

The banks with Snohomish County branches will raise minimum salaries for employees to $15 an hour.

Electroimpact cuts Mukilteo staff by 9 percent

“What we’re missing now is a monster anchor project,” the company’s VP said.

Exotic animals find compassionate care in Bothell (video)

At the Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine, vets treat snakes, hedgehogs and even kangaroos.

How can you tell if you are getting good financial advice?

Assume that it’s still the same buyer-beware market that has always existed.

Amanda Strong (left) tries on an Angel of the Winds Arena hat as she and Courtney Brown hand out gift bags after the renaming ceremony Dec. 13 in Everett. The new name replaces the Xfinity name. (Andy Bronson / Her file)
Angel of the Winds to break ground on $60M casino expansion

“We think we’re on the cusp of becoming a major resort.”

In this Dec. 20, 2017, photo, a clerk reaches to a shelf to pick an item for a customer order at the Amazon Prime warehouse, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Amazon’s potential HQ2 sites leaves many cities disappointed

And yet, some municipal leaders are looking at the bright side of being rejected.

How do you retrieve an errant Boeing 737 from a muddy slope?

Turkish authorities used cranes to lift a plane that skidded off a runway.

Don’t take economic forecasts to the bank — or the casino

Air travel delays could spur a rebirth of passenger rail service.

Emirates orders 20 more Airbus A380 jumbos, saving program

The Dubai carrier also has options to buy 16 more. The program seems safe until 2029.

Most Read