Netflix today launched a new Web site feature that enables customers to create up to five separate "profiles" for family members. Internally called the "marriage saver," this should end a lot of arguments over rental choices. The main account is the administrator, and new users can be added in the My Account section of the Web site. You switch between users by using the new profile selector in the header graphic.
Here's how you switch profiles. Click on the arrow next to your name and it will show all of the users on your account (Annie Chow is my wife).
Here's how you manage your profiles on the My Account page:
Each queue can have up to 500 movies (for a total of 2,500!), and you can allocate the number of rentals available to each queue. If you're the only renter in your household, you can use the extra queues to organize movies by genre. If you have children, you can control the movies they watch by setting the maximum MPAA rating.
I've been playing with the feature for the past few days and it's a great addition. My wife watches only a few movies per month (she picks our "date" movies), so I gave her one movie "slot" and now she's building her own queue (I can get rid of all of the "chick flicks" in mine!). I'm hoping this separation will help my recommendations since I've been renting for my wife and kids. Netflix easily handled the changes I made to the number of movies each profile could have, and shipped the right movies out for each account.
I think Netflix is smart to add a lot of cool features (Profiles, Friends List) to help differentiate their service from the increasing competition. The new queue feature is great because it will help upgrade customers to more profitable dvd-by-mail plans ("How come I can only rent one movie at a time, dad?").
Thanks to Heather Anne for tipping me off to this story.