Netflix wants to get up close and personal with you -- real personal. The streaming video giant just launched a new feature called "Profiles" that aims to make it easier for each individual in your household to find content that suits his tastes.
Netflix users are likely to welcome this tool. As it stands, the service recommends TV shows and movies from many categories based on what you watched last. But if more than one person in your household is using the Netflix account, those recommendations can get in the way.
"I'm sure many of you have had similar experiences, where you sat down to find something great to watch on Netflix, but it looks like your spouse has been binging on those teenage supernatural dramas you can't stand, or your kids have filled your viewing history with animated sheep," said Eddy Wu, director of product innovation at Netflix.
Let Johnny Have His Own Profile
Now, Netflix members can create a separate "profile" for each member of their households, who will each see a uniquely personalized experience based upon his individual watching habits, his personal favorite shows, and favorite genres. Each account can have up to five profiles at no extra cost in the basic subscription price. All you have to do is provide a name.
"Each person will get personalized suggestions based on what they watch and rate, as well as separate 'Recently Watched' and 'Instant Queue' lists," said Wu. "You can also connect each person to a different Facebook account, to get personalized suggestions from your friends."
As Wu mentioned, each profile can be connected to a different Facebook account. The idea is to provide friends-based suggestions and further personalize the discovery experience. The company is also making it easier to enter Netflix Kids, an area with titles appropriate for those 12 and under.
Netflix, What Took You So Long?
We asked Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, for his take on the new personalization features. He told us Profiles is a natural evolution beyond Netflix's kids' offering and something we've seen demonstrated by other companies.
"For example, a startup named Sezmi had different DVR profiles for different family members and it is rumored that Intel's upcoming pay TV offering will have it as well," he said. "It also represents a response to the rise in personal TV viewing we've seen with tablets."
Profiles starts rolling out on Netflix globally on Aug. 1 and will be available to all members within two weeks. New members can add profiles for each member of their families while signing up for Netflix. Existing members can create additional profiles at any time on the Netflix website or on PlayStation 3. Profiles can be accessed on most devices that support Netflix, including the Netflix website, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, iPad, iPhone, Apple TV and most smart TVs.