Skip to main content

Netflix debuts multiple user profiles so your roomate won’t screw up your recommendations

 

Profiles_gate_ps3_en-us_large

Netflix has built one of the world's most powerful recommendation engines. But if you belong to a family sharing a single account — dad loves screwball comedies, mom loves slasher films, little Timmy is an action flick fan, and baby Pete watches mostly cartoons — it can have a hard time pinning down your personal taste. Without good suggestions, users can be left feeling as if Netflix's streaming service, which lacks a lot of big titles and new releases, has little worth watching.

So today the web's top video-rental service launched Netflix Profiles, which enables multiple users of the same account to create their own profile page. The idea is to give the company a better idea of an individual viewer's preferences.


Multiple users on the same account complicates recommendation process The majority of Netflix accounts are used by multiple people, typically members of a household, according to Neil Hunt, the company's chief product officer. Netflix relies on in-house algorithms to suggest titles, and they're partly based on the subscriber's viewing history and the history of users with similar tastes. When there are multiple people on the same account, Hunt says, the recommendation process becomes too much like hitting a moving target. Hunt tells The Verge that there's "no doubt in my mind," that the profile pages, which are offered free of charge, will lead to more customer satisfaction.

When customers log on, they will see a different color tile representing each user on the account. Once they click on their tile they'll be directed to their own Netflix page. Each user will see only the titles that Netflix thinks they'll like as well as recommendations from their Facebook friends. The user interface won't change.

Besides helping Netflix to tailor its recommendations, the new profile pages are designed to help Netflix squeeze every nickel of value out of its streaming library. The money Netflix has spent on House of Cards and other original content has generated a lot of headlines, but the company still can't stream new releases from most of the top Hollywood film studios. So Netflix must make the most of the content it does have, and that means helping obscure videos find their perfect audiences.

And if that disaster of a disaster film Sharknado taught us nothing else, it was that there's a market out there for almost anything.

Netflix debuts multiple user profiles so your roomate won't screw up your recommendations
Greg Sandoval
Thu, 01 Aug 2013 12:00:06 GMT

Popular posts from this blog

Apple Launches Web Tool to Deregister Phone Numbers from iMessage

Apple today released a new web tool for users to deregister their phone number from iMessage in the event they switched to a non-Apple device. To deregister a phone number from iMessage, users simply enter their phone number in Apple's web tool, receive a free text message containing a code, and submit the code to complete the process. Users who still have their original iPhone can also transfer their SIM card back to the device and go to Settings -> Messages to turn iMessage off. 


Users switching from an iPhone to another device were often unable to receive SMS messages from another iPhone due to their phone number still being linked to iMessage. These specific errors with iMessage have been a well-known issue since 2011, which is when the messaging service debuted with iOS 5. They were also made even more apparent this past May, where a server glitch caused widespread message delivery problems. Apple was even sued over the matter in a California court, although the company cla…

Microsoft acquires iPhone email app Acompli

After accidentally announcing it a little early, Microsoft is officially confirming it has acquired email startup Acompli. The surprise acquisition means Microsoft is picking up a powerful email client for iPhone and Android in another move that further cements CEO Satya Nadella’s focus on cross-platform technologies. The Verge’s Casey Newton called Acompl "the Outlook for iPhone that Microsoft hasn’t yet built," and it seems Microsoft was equally impressed with the powerhouse email app. "We’re excited about what’s possible as we build on the app’s success and bring it together with work currently in progress by the Outlook team," the company said in a statement. "Our goal is to deliver fantastic cross-platform apps that support the variety of email services people use today and help them accomplish more." Recode first reportedthat Microsoft would make its latest acquisition official today; the company is said to be paying over $200 million for Acompli. A…

Apple will disconnect ‘obsolete’ first-gen Apple TV from iTunes in May

Apple has announced today it will drop iTunes support for some older devices from May 25. This includes the first generation Apple TV, and also any PC running Windows XP or Vista. The company is introducing new security changes which will prevent those devices from using the latest version of iTunes.
Apple says that the original Apple TV is an "obsolete Apple product" and will not be updated to support security changes. Only those with the second generation of Apple TV or later will be able to access the iTunes store.
Windows XP or Vista users won't be able to use the latest version of iTunes, but older Windows computers can still use previous versions without support from Apple. Those who do so, however, won't be able to make new purchases or re-download previous purchases on that computer. If you're on on XP or Vista, you'll need to upgrade to Windows 7 or later to continue using iTunes normally.
The writing was already on the wall for these devices: Wi…