Netflix is rolling out a new “Play Something” recommendation feature starting today that is designed to let users find and watch fresh content right off the gate — literally. The popular OTT platform is adding a dedicated button underneath your profile(s) — aka, the landing page — and menu as well as a prompt below the tenth row on the home screen to automatically start streaming content basis of what it thinks you’re likely going to like. It will also give you an option to sift through as many as 75 such recommendations to help you find your next bingeworthy show or film.
“Sometimes, it’s really difficult to choose. We have lots of great choices. And there are times where we don’t really want to choose (at all). We just want to put on something that’s entertaining,” Cameron Johnson, director of product innovation at Netflix tells Financial Express Online.
“The best way to solve this problem is to have a single button that says, Netflix, will you pick something for me?”
The idea is to play a show or film that you haven’t watched before, and so “it’s designed for the moment when you want to watch something new.”
Netflix’s recommendation system uses two types of inputs. It will show you content it thinks you have the highest likelihood to watch and so, it can include the types of genres that you’ve watched in the past, but it can also include content that’s generally popular among all Netflix members at a given point of time. It is based on the same technology that Netflix is using to recommend content to you in areas like the home screen for instance, but, with a different output which is to show you new content.
The feature has been in testing for almost a year now, and Netflix usually makes features more broadly available only when it sees some degree of success in the trial run.
“We think that it combines some of the nice things about linear TV which is that you can turn on the TV and you’re immediately watching something, but it adds all of the benefits of Internet TV on top of that, which is that it’s personalised so it’s not just what happens to be on at 9:00 o’clock on a particular channel. It’s picking something for you based on your interest,” Johnson explains.
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So, what is the accuracy rate when it comes to these recommendations?
“Nothing that I can share, but our goal with this feature is to get to a point where it feels you are choosing (content) for yourself over time.”
The Play Something feature is now available globally on TV. Netflix plans to do some testing on mobile this year, and “our hopes are that we can bring a feature like this to mobile sometime in the not-too-distant future.”