Netflix is well aware that the most common problem its subscribers face is often simply sifting through the massive amounts of content available to them. We’ve all sat down to watch Netflix, only to quickly become overwhelmed with the amount of new shows to choose from. While Netflix’s suggested titles algorithm does do a great job of providing relevant content for each profile, there is still a disconnect between putting that content in front of a user and convincing that user to view that content. Knowing this, Netflix recently released a long anticipated feature for its TV apps: video previews.
Video previews are available for most of Netflix’s catalogue offerings. Until now, the only content previews available were Netflix’s short text descriptions. The previews will appear while the user is browsing video content on a tv-connected Netflix platform. You won’t even have to click play to find out what each show is about.
Netflix’s recent blog announcement makes it clear that they are aware that they generally only “…have less than 90 seconds to capture someone’s attention and get them excited about a title.” That’s where this new preview feature comes in. These previews are designed to “…help members make faster and more confident decisions by quickly highlighting the story, characters and tone of a title,” according to the same blog post. To be clear, video previews are not traditional trailers, they’re designed to give the viewer all the information they need to make a viewing decision in a short amount of time.
Rest assured, this preview feature release is strategically timed. Netflix has already committed to releasing 1,000 hours of original content in 2017. The success of this content doesn’t just rely on the quality of the show, but also the marketing behind it. Netflix needs a way to convince its current members to take the time to watch the original content that they are creating. The preview feature will be a critical way for Netflix to gather viewers for this new content. Ideally, these previews will help Netflix users spend less time browsing content, and more time watching it.
The preview feature began rolling out on December 6th, 2016 and will slowly roll out across Netflix’s television-connected platforms including “…the majority of gaming consoles and Roku devices, with smart TVs and others getting updated in the coming months.”
Netflix has been invested in how people consume video content since day one, and they are staying on the cutting edge of subscription video-on-demand services with innovations like this new preview feature. Time will tell whether it’s as effective as they need it to be in promoting viewership of their original content in the coming year.