Netflix in 2018: 6 developments you should know about

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Netflix is now 125 million members strong. Approximately 1.96M domestic customers came on board in the first quarter of 2018 and nearly triple that amount signed up overseas, the company noted in its latest letter to shareholders.

So what’s next for the global Internet TV giant?

More great content, for sure.

“We strive to entertain and to bring joy to people across the world through amazing stories. Our 125 million members provided us with $3.6 billion in streaming revenue in Q1. Our job is to spend this money wisely to increase our members’ delight,” the letter says.

RELATED: The best live TV streaming plans and deals in 2018

Here’s what’s new with Netflix

If you’re a Netflix customer, here’s what you need to know:

The membership price adjustment is complete (for now)

Back in October 2017, Netflix raised the cost of the standard two-stream HD plan from $9.99 to $10.99 per month for all new customers.

Since then, the streamer has been hiking the cost on existing customers, too.

But now finally, all price adjustments are in place.

Does $10.99 sound too rich for your blood? Good news: The basic streaming plan that only allows you to watch non-HD content on one screen at a time remains unchanged at $7.99.

Comcast will begin including Netflix in some bundles

Netflix is breaking down the walls between itself and cable in a new initiative that’s the first of its kind.

Marking the first time Netflix has ever been included in a TV provider bundle, Comcast announced earlier this month that it will embed the streaming service within several of its Xfinity bundles.

Billing will be handled exclusively by Comcast, so you just get one combined charge on your monthly cable bill.

Offers and availability will vary by market for both new and existing customers.

“These relationships allow our partners to attract more customers and to upsell existing subscribers,” Netflix notes in its shareholder letter. “We benefit from more reach, awareness and often, less friction in the signup and payment process.”

Could this move mark an inflection point in the media business and maybe blur the lines between OTT (over-the-top) content and the traditional pay TV industry beyond recognition?

Perhaps not as much as you’d think…

From Netflix’s perspective, the company remains rooted in the knowledge of what it is and what it does best — while keeping an eye out for ancillary revenue streams.

“We remain primarily a direct-to-consumer business, but we see our bundling initiative as an attractive supplemental channel.”

New parental controls are now in place

Last month, Netflix introduced a parental PIN control for individual movies and shows.

According to a company blog, Netflix already provided PIN protection based on maturity level for all accounts. But this new parental PIN control now lets families drill down to a specific series or film.

netflix parental PIN controls

Netflix is breaking up with Cannes

Few international film festivals carry the cachet that the Cannes Film Festival does. But there’s a little-known French law that bans exhibited films from showing up on streaming services for three years.

So Netflix had a choice…

It could either show its original films at Cannes and deprive French streaming customers of the right to see them for 36 months.

Or it could continue to entertain its French customers with the latest original flicks as it’s always done — and skip Cannes.

With the company’s extreme focus on keeping customers happy, the decision was an easy one!

“We will continue to celebrate our films and filmmakers at other festivals around the world but unfortunately we will have to sit out Cannes for now,” the company notes.

Netflix is shacking up with director Ryan Murphy

You know Ryan Murphy as the man behind TV favorites like ​American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson, ​Nip/Tuck, ​Glee, ​American Horror Story and more.

Now Netflix has entered a deal with the seasoned hit-maker to produce exclusive content.

“While these overall deals are a substantial investment for us, they allow us to work directly with prolific and talented creators with a proven track record of success,” the company told shareholders.

The partnership gives Netflix ownership of the work Murphy does, instead of paying license premiums to third-party studios.

Netflix already has similar partnerships in place with television creative talents such as Shonda Rhimes, Shawn Levy and Jenji Kohan.

Netflix is now the proud owner of its first Oscar

In other creative news, Netflix took home its first Oscar at last month’s Academy Awards for the documentary Icarus.

“We’re thrilled when the creators with whom we partner are recognized for their exceptional work. The Oscar win helps to reinforce that Netflix is a great home for both documentary lovers and creators.”

RELATED: Warning — This Netflix scam could empty your bank account

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller "Living Large in Lean Times."
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