Photo Credit: Akhil Arora/Gadgets 360
Netflix Shuffle Play feature is planned to roll out to all users globally in the first half of 2021. Since August last year, Netflix has been testing this feature through a button that plays a random movie or TV series for the viewer, based on the titles they watch. Now, the company noted during its Q4 2020 earnings report that the feature has been received positively by viewers during the testing and will reach all members across the world in the first half of this year.
The company brought up the new feature during its earnings call. The feature was referred to by Netflix as one that “gives members the ability to choose to instantly watch a title chosen just for them versus browse.”
Netflix Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said during the earnings meeting that viewers come to the platform to be entertained but are sometimes not sure what they want to watch. He said that Netflix was trying new mechanisms to help viewers in this dilemma, and that this new feature (Shuffle Play) was working well for them. Viewers will be able to indicate to the platform they want to skip browsing entirely, and Netflix will pick a title for them to instantly play, he said, describing Shuffle Play.
The Shuffle Play feature, being tested since August 2020, is available for some users as a big button on the Netflix home screen below the profile icon. It is also available in the sidebar navigation of the TV app. It has only been testing on TV devices. Shuffle Play, if rolled out, will help indecisive viewers pick a random title to watch, one that Netflix's personalisation algorithm thinks they'll like.
The feature's description reads “Not sure what to watch? Try Shuffle Play. We'll shuffle everything on Netflix and find things for you to watch based on your tastes.” Below the description, the shuffle button with the words “Try It Now” is visible.
Netflix said that the official name of the feature is still being tested, as per a report by TechCrunch. The company said that the user response to the feature had been positive, although it didn't mention how many users had been opted into the test so far.
This isn't the first time Netflix is experimenting with such a feature. Before Shuffle Play, users spotted a similar feature called “Play Something.” A feature that let users watch a random episode from a popular show was also being tested two years ago, stated the report.
Besides that, Netflix noted in its earnings report that its global subscriber rolls crossed 200 million at the end of 2020. It added about 8.5 million subscribers in the quarter. Netflix will no longer need to borrow money to pay for operations due to its strong cash flow, the company said during the earnings call.
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