Netflix: There is a Method to Their Madness

    September 15, 2013

The Netflix team has a very important job when it comes to purchasing what it’s consumers can view. How would they differentiate it to buy or not? What does the Netflix customer want to watch? These are very broad questions. Before purchasing the shows to make available to customers, Netflix is wisely checking piracy sites to research the demand of various movies and TV shows based on how many viewers are watching something, VP of Content Acquisition Kelly Merryman explained to Tweakers. The Netflix team is hoping instead of you stealing the information a.k.a. “pirating,” that you’ll spend a few extra dollars with them to view the same information legally.

This tactic definitely contains some brilliance.

Why? Not only are people having issues pirating after government authorities are doing their jobs, and cracking down on some of the commonly used sites. But spam, and other items, can be downloaded to your computer when trying to download and view your programs. There’s also that chance that you could set yourself up to watch something really spectacular, and then it could turn out to be a shoddy bootlegged version.

With Netflix, you may not have the material on your hard drive, but you can view anything from one source, and on multiple platforms, without having the needle in the haystack search for something. They put it as the “Click and Watch.” On netflix, you can find something to watch without knowing what you want to watch. search by genre, search recommendations based on other items you like, or go really crazy and type in crazy keywords in the search bar. (I do not recommend the last one, but whatever. You get the point.) As long as you have WiFi, you can essentially watch anything they own from anywhere on your phone, tablet, or television from an ever-growing library of media, and you know you will be viewing a good version.

In August, Netflix introduced Profiles on their website, which solved one of the main problems that consumers were having. Here was the issue: Say you live in a home with a family of five. Two adults, three children ages: 15, 12, 8. This is a hypothetical. Within this home, the adults would be watching different programs solo, than any of the kids, and these programs may not be suitable for any of them. What is the 15-year-old is watching, may not be appropriate for the 8-year-old, or even the 12-year-old. But yet, within this one family their Netflix is keeping a record of what everyone views, and making recommendations on what everyone is watching. See the problem? After you spent Spring Break watching Lilo & Stitch with your eight-year-old, Netflix suggests other Disney moves. Or it suggests Bridget Jones’s Diary or Sweet Home Alabama, because your wife enjoys Chick-Flicks. See the problem?

The new profiles is a free add-on available to eliminate this problem, by only making suggestions based on your own personal profile. You can add up to 5 on the standard account ($7.99 per month) and you can indicate if a child is under 12, which is sorta refreshing. I can already think of a few issues with the Profile concept, like for families who actually watch things together, but also separately. Or Netflix account sharing among many people, which Netflix presumably dislikes this behavior anyways… but it does happen. Although kinks are still being worked out with the Profiles, it’s a good start.

Netflix is progressively getting better at providing a better experience for its customers. Clearly, with 37 million members in 40 countries they aren’t too bad of a job at providing people what they want to watch, because Netflix is being smart: there’s a method to their madness.

Main article Image via Netflix