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Netflix in 2018: 6 new developments you should know about

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Clark Howard Staff, Clark.com

“Strong but not stellar” is the way Netflix describes its latest quarter in a new letter to shareholders.

Why the hint of self-doubt from the leading streamer? Because the service added some 5.2 million members in the second quarter, while expectations were for 6.2 new million subscribers to come on board.

But worries about slowing growth aside, what’s next for the global Internet TV giant? More great content, for sure.

“Internet video is growing globally and we are fortunate to be one of the leaders,” the letter says. “In addition to succeeding commercially, we are starting to lead artistically in some categories, with our creators earning enough Emmy nominations this year to collectively break​ HBO’s amazing 17-year run​.”

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:

Netflix’s “Smart Downloads” feature is now available

The company’s brand new Smart Downloads feature on Android is geared to members who use the offline mode for viewing.

The beauty of Smart Downloads is it will automatically delete a downloaded episode after you’ve watched it and automatically download the next episode for you.

And because Smart Downloads works with WiFi, you’ll never use cellular data and you won’t clutter up your device’s storage!

Michael Bay’s next feature movie will be a Netflix original

You know him for big Hollywood extravaganzas like Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and the Transformers film series, among others.

But lauded director Michael Bay’s next flick will be for Netflix. It’s going to be called ​Six Underground and will star Ryan Reynolds.

Other famed directors who also have made or are making their next features for Netflix include cinematic luminaries like Martin Scorsese, Alfonso Cuaron, Susanne Bier, Paul Greengrass and Chris Columbus, among others.

“As traditional exhibition focuses increasingly on superheroes and sequels, our on demand service allows us to serve a wide variety of tastes,” Netflix notes.

Netflix just received the most Emmy nods of any network

Last week, Netflix got 112 nominations for the 2018 Emmy Awards, including five best series and best limited series nods.

But beyond that the Netflix nominations recognized 40 different scripted and unscripted series, as well as TV movies, limited series, documentaries, talk shows, comedy specials and series for kids.

“This is a testament to the fantastic creators we work with across all forms of television,” the company said.

Netflix believes it can co-exist in a brave new media world

The world of streaming entertainment is always changing and the competition always getting more intense.

Disney is coming out next year with its own streaming service and older competitors such as Amazon and Apple continue spending on content to draw you into their subscription-based ecosystems. Add to that the merger of AT&T and Time Warner and Fox getting ready to sell assets to either Disney or Comcast.

It all adds up to one crowded Internet entertainment landscape!

Through it all, Netflix says it will remain focused on doing what it does best: Creating and delivering great content at a compelling price point.

“We believe that consumer appetite for great content is broad and that there is room for multiple parties to have attractive offerings…Our strategy is to simply keep improving, as we’ve been doing every year in the past.”

You may see international content being promoted

In its letter to shareholders, Netflix called out a few international productions that it’s having a lot of success with right now. These included launching the second season of 3%, a Brazilian sci-fi original, and the premiere of The Rain, a Danish original thriller that’s found an international audience.

“This serves as another data point that our international originals can be important to specific countries and regions and also play well outside of their home markets,” the company notes.

A higher priced ‘Ultra’ plan may be coming

Sticking with the international theme, Netflix is testing a new premium service in Europe priced at about €16.99, which is around $20/month. The ‘Ultra’ plan lets subscribers watch 4K content with High Dynamic Range (HDR) quality on up to four different screens at once.

In fact, two versions of the plan are reportedly being tested, each with small differences on pricing and screen limits.

So why should you care what’s going on for European customers? Well, it could be that Netflix is floating a trial balloon in the Old World. And if the ‘Ultra’ plan plays well with consumers over there, it’s next stop could be over here!

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