Netflix with ‘play something’ feature


Netflix is launching a new “Play Something” recommendation feature today, intending to allow users to discover and watch new content right away — literally. The famous OTT platform is introducing a dedicated button beneath your profile(s) and menu, as well as a prompt below the tenth row on the home screen, to automatically start streaming content based on what it thinks you’ll want. It will also allow you to sift through up to 75 such recommendations to find your next binge-worthy show or film.

“It can be difficult to select at times. We have a plethora of excellent options. And there are moments when we don’t want to make a decision (at all). “We want to put on something entertaining,” said Cameron Johnson, Netflix’s director of product innovation.

“The perfect solution is to have a single button that says, Netflix, can you choose something for me? The concept is to play a previously unseen show or film, and therefore “it’s built for the moment when you want to see something different.”

Netflix’s recommendation framework makes use of two kinds of inputs. It will show you content that it believes you are most likely to watch, which may include genres you’ve previously viewed, but it may also include content that is widely common among all Netflix members at a given time. It is built on the same technologies that Netflix uses to suggest content to you in places such as the home screen, but with a different output of showing you new content. The feature has been in development for nearly a year, and Netflix usually makes applications more widely available only after they have shown some degree of success in the trial run. 

“We think it incorporates some of the good aspects about linear TVs, such as the fact that you can turn on the TV and automatically see something, but it also puts all of the advantages of Internet TV on top of it, such as the fact that it’s personalized, so it’s not just what happens to be on at 9:00 p.m. on a single channel. It selects something based on your interests,” Johnson explains.

The Play Something feature is now available on TVs all over the world. Netflix intends to conduct mobile trials this year, to bring a feature like this to mobile in the not-too-distant future.  

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