It's so hard picking something to watch. It takes hours.
I love watching Netflix, but I hate picking what to watch. As I endlessly scroll back and forth, I go from comedies to new releases to international films, trying to decide what mood I am in. And I know I'm not alone.
Every day, millions of people peruse millions of choices trying to decipher what to watch on Netflix.
“We face countless decisions in our daily routine and, at the end of the day, the on-demand ecosystem puts on extra pressure,” Elena Neira told Vulture. Neira is a professor at Barcelona’s Open University of Catalonia and wrote the book Streaming Wars: The New Television.
Neira goes on to explain to Vulture that the surplus of choices overwhelms our brains and causes "decision fatigue." This makes potential audiences freeze and not make any decision at all—which is a huge problem for a streamer, which needs your eyeballs on its content to keep going. They don't want you to give up and move to another platform.
Well, Netflix knows that. And they want to help.
Netflix's VP of Product, Todd Yellin, said in a statement, “Internet TV gives you control: I watch what I want, when I want, and I get this beautiful buffet of content. Some people, they like that choice and they want their choice. But some people get analysis paralysis.”
"Play Something" is a new viewing mode designed to make it easier to find something to watch. That sounds like a dream, but how does it work?
You opt-in at the top of the browsing page. Then, the Netflix matrix chooses something it thinks you’ll enjoy and just starts streaming it. As the choice plays, an onscreen graphic pops up briefly explaining why it chose that title. So Netflix basically justifies it according to your taste.
If you don't like it, you can press a button to skip to another title. You can also go backward if you regret your decision.
While this is all well and good, some worry that we might have moved on from peak television into an era of just too many shows to watch. Compound that with movie title selections, and you're always going to have people worrying they're missing out on something great. Or afraid they'll pick the wrong thing.
If I had one suggestion to these companies, I wish I saw movies grouped more by series. This past year, I put in the effort to see all the Best Picture winners ever, as well as every title on AFI's Top 100 Movies. That made picking what I would watch every night much easier. While I had to pay to rent a lot of them, I would have gladly clicked through streamers who had big categories like these.
Even if that involved curated lists like "Martin Scorsese's Favorite Movies Ever" or "The Best Movies About Horses." I think curation is a much-missed part of the streaming experience. But maybe that automated curation inside "Play Something" will be a welcome endeavor.
"People underestimate the 4,000 engineers in Silicon Valley who make Netflix work every single time you push play," Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos said in a statement.
Well, I won't be caught underestimating them this time.
I'll be pressing "Play Something" and hoping for the best.
Let me know if you try it out and how it works for you.
Check-Out: Cine Lenses – Most popular Lens Deals this week
With any & every B&H purchase You will automatically be entered into the Monthly Gift Card Raffle.