I turned off DirecTV in January. So far, six weeks in we’ve gotten pretty used to antenna TV and Netflix. But there’s something that I’ve noticed that I miss with Netflix.
You know that feeling on a late Saturday afternoon when you turn on the TV without a specific purpose? There’s no new episodes of your favorite show on, and you’ve burnt through your DVR (assuming you still have one)…
You end up surfing.
Aimlessly punching the up and down buttons, riding the cable elevator. When I do this, I usually end up with the same result. Rather than discover something new, I end up landing on something like Happy Gilmore, say, during the part where he’s learning to put at the mini golf course.
You see, that works for me. I know the back story. I’m caught up, and immediately engaged. I might only have 10 minutes, but it’s an easily invested 10 minutes. No figuring out the characters, or the guessing the plot. And I don’t have to worry about leaving after 10 minutes, because I know what happens.
So how does Netflix mimic that? Easy. They toss up a button that plays a random movie (one of your highly ranked favorites perhaps) at a random spot. Don’t like? Try again. This simulates changing channels, which might seem like an unnecessary pastime, but it’s a behavior that’s engrained in us.
They could do something similar for series that I like. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted a ” Play a random Arrested Development” button. It’s commonly asserted that a person has a hard time choosing between more than three options. Well then choosing from five seasons with 14 episodes each is nearly impossible.
I’m sure some people would argue against aimless channel surfing, but then, you’d have to argue against human nature. We like to sit in the comfort zone of the content we know, why not make that a single click process?
BONUS – Two more things Netflix should do:
1) Enable a social sharing function that would allow you to drop a video in a friends queue.
2) Let me use more than five devices. With 12 smart devices in the house, I’m constantly having to authorize one device, only to unauthorize another. I’ll even pay extra to have this option.