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With families in mind, Netflix reimagines its user interface

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 2 2015 4:44 a.m. MDT

Netflix announced Thursday that users will now be able to create up to five viewing profiles per account — a move that will allow children and adults to have separate, personalized recommendations for future viewing. (Paul Sakuma, Associated Press) Netflix announced Thursday that users will now be able to create up to five viewing profiles per account — a move that will allow children and adults to have separate, personalized recommendations for future viewing. (Paul Sakuma, Associated Press)

Netflix announced Thursday that users will now be able to create up to five viewing profiles per account — a move that will allow children and adults to have separate, personalized recommendations for future viewing.

“The feature effectively sections off viewing habits for each household member, giving each person individualized suggestions and the ability to add their own favorite titles,” Julianne Pepitone reported for CNNMoney.

The Washington Post’s Hayley Tsukayama wrote, “It can (be) a fairly thorny problem for parents who may love gritty horror films but aren’t necessarily ready to share that passion with their younger children. Seeing suggestions for ‘The Hills Have Eyes II’ alongside ‘The Muppet Movie’ is also visually jarring, to say the least.”

An ability to give family members with different viewing preferences their own recommendations figures to be especially valuable within the Netflix business model. Indeed, the company’s distinctive trait isn’t necessarily an exhaustive library of titles, but rather a computer algorithm with an uncanny knack for parlaying viewing histories into effective recommendations for future viewing.

“Most people choose what they watch based on what Netflix recommends,” Joan E. Solsman reported for CNET. “Last month, the company said more than three-quarters of the hours streamed come from personalized suggestions generated by its algorithms.

“The aim of the newly revised profiles is to sharpen the effect of the recommendations Netflix makes. That matters to Netflix because the better it recommends movies, the more likely people are to watch them. And ‘the more people watch, the more they retain’ the service, Chief Executive Reed Hastings said last year.”

Email: jaskar@desnews.com

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