Shuffle and discover

I’ll agree with parts of what both Kyle Vanhemert and Janko Roettgers say about Netflix and the need for a “lean back” mode that just plays shows or movies without having to go through the discovery process. Vanhemert argues that it needs something that just allows people to watch *something* as opposed to determining what specifically they want to watch at any given time. But Roettgers points out that would be essentially recreating the TV experience (not exactly) and Netflix has little to no interest in doing that.

What I’d like to see is something more in the middle, something that’s similar to Spotify’s “Discover” feature, with various playlists found under that section head. Netflix could potentially see even more growth and viewing hours by adding some sort of “Shuffle” mode that was grouped in various different ways. There could be a section for “Adult Dramas,” “Kid-Friendly Sitcoms,” “Netflix Originals” and dozens of others. The company apparently slices and dices its viewing data into hundreds of sub-genres, so even taking the two-dozen over-arching ones would be a start. Then allow people to start playing that section, offering up the first episodes from those shows in some random order.

I, for instance, may never intentionally try out a show like “Psych” but if I started shuffling the “Light Drama” category I would try it and may like it. Then the system can prompt me to either continue watching the next episode immediately after the first one ends, watch the next random show it serves me, add Psych to my List and so on.

That’s the problem that Netflix (and other services) has that needs to be addressed – Discovery. Right now it shows you shows that are similar to ones you’ve watched, shows that are popular and more. But that still requires me to take an action I may not know I want to take. Allowing me to sample would go a long way to not only surfacing shows I may enjoy but also increase the time I spend within the service.

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