Netflix is winning the battle of the boob tube. In 2015, the streaming content provider caused a 50% drop in viewership among the network TV stations, according to media analysts MoffettNathanson.
A recent analysis by FBR Capital Markets found the service is on track to have a larger 24-hour viewership than ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC this year—and that's during an election year cycle when more eyeballs are naturally going to TV!
Read on for some well-known and some obscure facts about the beloved streaming service.
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Read my lips: No new price hikes!
When Netflix announced last year that it was increasing its fee by $1 to $9.99 a month for new customers, it threw a bone to longtime customers. Those who signed up for the service when it was $7.99 would be grandfathered into that rate until May 2016. Now that we're past that date, most people are paying $9.99.
But could more price hikes be on the way that impact everybody?
The good news is that CEO Reed Hastings is quoted by the Motley Fool as telling Wall Street analysts that the answer is no.
"Well look, we've had great couple years at these price points and there's a lot of competition entering the market," Hastings reportedly said. "What we're focused on is just how do we increase value to the consumer by having more spectacular shows so that people watch more of Netflix."
As the Motley Fool's Adam Levine-Weinberg observes: "Netflix executives recognize that the company has pricing power, but they also know from experience how easy it is to alienate some consumers through price increases."
But will local taxes drive up the price you pay?
Pennsylvania recently enacted a so-called “Netflix tax” of 6%, which also impacts customers of companies like Spotify and Hulu. Meanwhile, Chicago has a 9% “cloud tax,” and Minnesota is now taxing “digital products”—even digital greeting cards!
You could probably be paying less for Netflix than you are right now
If money is tight, you could pay a $7.99 monthly rate if you're willing to forgo high-definition (HD) programming and are fine with standard definition (SD) programming. But you'll only be able to watch that on one screen at the same time in your home.
Netflix is essentially a global TV network
Back in January, Netflix added 130 countries simultaneously to the roster of nations where it is available. The company has content in over 20 languages, and its user interface is available in 17 languages. So pretty much the only places in the entire world where you can't get Netflix are China and a few other nations that have a bias against U.S. companies!
Meanwhile, here at home, Netflix reaches nearly half of all households. Hastings recently revealed that Americans watched 12 billion hours of Netflix in the fourth quarter of 2015, which was up from 8.25 billion year over year.
Like a particular film genre? There's a secret code for that!
Netflix gives you a world of viewing options at your fingertips. But how do you sort through it all? The streaming service actually has more than 76,000 hidden categories of movies and TV shows!
That's where the Netflix ID Bible comes in! Just substitute one of the thousands of codes into the URL "http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/(code number here)."
So, for example, http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/8985 would be the link for martial arts movies. Here's a partial list of codes:
- 8985 = Martial Arts Movies
- 67673 = Disney
- 53310 = Silent Movies
- 8195 = B-Horror Movies
- 7018 = Political Documentaries
- 52804 = Faith & Spirituality Movies
- 10757 = British Movies
- 75405 = Zombie Horror Movies
- 5475 = Romantic Comedies
- 11014 = Sci-Fi Thrillers
- 12803 = Football Movies
- 31851 = Gangster Movies
- 10375 = TV Comedies
Netflix will keep you binge-watching on the go
There's a new version of the Netflix app for iOS that will auto-play the next episode of whatever show you're watching when you finish with the last one. It's the company's latest effort to keep your binge-watching on the go and get you to spend more time in the app. Don't worry Android users; your version is coming later this year!
Beware: Your account could be shared by a criminal!
Symantec has discovered that accounts are being hacked and sold on the black market for as little as 25 cents! A Netflix premium subscription lets up to four people stream simultaneously from one account and watch in different locations on different screens. But criminals are using this to their advantage by getting unsuspecting customers to respond to fake solicitations that let them hijack your account -- unbeknownst to you.
There's even a variant where fake ads, offers or links come in an email from the scammers. If you click on them or respond in any way, then malware posing at legitimate Netflix software (see picture) will be installed on your computer. Once that happens, a keylogger can then capture your banking and financial info and send it to the criminals.
The best way around all this trouble? Change your password every few months and be on the lookout for suspicious account activity!
The company lowers bandwidth for AT&T and Verizon users
Netflix recently admitted it's been throttling users on AT&T and Verizon for more than five years to "protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps," according to The Wall Street Journal. By limiting streams to 600 kilobits-per-second, the company was hoping to dance the fine line between supply and demand. As the newspaper notes, streaming two hours of HD video on Netflix would eat 6 GB of data -- the entire monthly allowance under an $80 a month Verizon plan.
Netflix now offers unlimited maternity & paternity leave
Beating out Google and Facebook, Netflix now offers the most parental leave to employees: Unlimited! Ditto for PTO at Netflix, which has been unlimited for some time now. And in case you're wondering, Google offers five months for mom and three months for dad, while Facebook offers four months across the board.
Beware: There's a phony Netflix number floating around
If you're a Netflix subscriber, you're on the hit list of cyber-criminals who want into your wallet! Huffington Post reports some subscribers are being hit with a phony pop-up window that looks exactly like Netflix. When you enter your account info to sign in, you get a message that says, "We have detected unusual activity on this account. To Protect your account for unauthorized use, we have temporarily suspended this username. To regain access to your account please contact Member Services at 1-800-947-6570."
But note this well: The real Netflix customer service number is 1-866-579-7172. If you call the fake customer service number, you're told to download special software that is a Trojan virus. It allows the criminals to take over your computer and look for sensitive financial info on it. If you ever need to call Netflix, make sure you call the right number. Do not respond to anything in any pop-up!
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