Netflix is testing a new viewing model: Serendipity on Demand

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Netflix tests serendipity on-demand to increase content discovery

Netflix launched an expanded test of “Shuffle Play,” a feature for indecisive subscribers (like me) that starts streaming a random title based on their viewing history or playlists. The idea, of course, is to provide yet another way to encourage Netflix users to watch more content on the service — even if they don’t know what, exactly, they want to watch — and potentially get hooked on a new TV show or movie.  Something that Netflix and other on-demand apps overlook is serendipity. We’ve come a long way as an industry, however, most VOD apps are essentially just digital versions of Friday nights at Blockbuster. There are shelves and shelves of content and most of us end up choosing a title based on its word-of-mouth, the cover art, synopsis, and/or familiarity with the talent. That is if we end up choosing anything at all. And there’s probably tons of great content we may actually like, but we’ll never give it the time of day. For me, that was Discovery’s show, Dual Survival. This is a show that I would never choose to watch based on the thumbnail (two guys out in nature), the synopsis (a pair of survival experts in predetermined survival scenarios while in challenging environments), or the actors (who are these guys?). Yet, I caught two episodes back-to-back on a flight from New York to Palm Beach served to me linear-style. Once I returned home, I ended up binge-watching 7 seasons of the show on-demand. This is the type of content discovery and serendipity gap Netflix intends to fill. Currently, “Shuffle Play” is being tested only on connected-TV devices. Link

Google may be joining Amazon, Apple, and Roku in the aggregator game

Google seems to be testing or developing a content aggregation hub under the name Kaleidoscope. The hub would allow users to “see all your favorite shows in one place, no matter where they’re hosted.” It’s tough say how this is will actually work, but I imagine this to be Google’s response to Apple’s TV app, something that if you know me, know that I’m super bullish on. Link Related: direct-to-consumer tv apps vs. streaming service aggregators: how to compete… against yourself?

News publishers ask Apple for the same App Store deal it offered Amazon

Following the Epic versus Apple drama, News industry body Digital Content Next has written to Apple asking how its members could qualify for a special deal like one given to Amazon in 2017, in which Apple offered Amazon a 15% fee on subscriptions for Amazon’s Prime Video app via the App Store, lower than a customary 30% fee. For years I've been saying that you're going to see something like this shake out in the OTT industry within the next 3-5 years. But I'd expect letters to be sent to Jeff Bezos’s desk before they hit Tim's. Link Apple consistently acts like a company peeved it is not getting its fair share, somehow ignoring the fact it is worth nearly $2 trillion precisely because the iPhone matters more than anything. This is not a console you play to entertain yourself or even a PC for work: it is the foundation of modern life, which makes it all the more disappointing that Apple seems to care more about its short term bottom line than it does about the users and developers that used to share in its integration upside. Link

Disney will sell Mulan, its forthcoming $30 premium VOD release, via Apple, Roku, and Google platforms in addition to Disney+.

Fire TV is not on the list of confirmed distribution outlets. Amazon was also was a holdout on Disney+ when it launched last fall, though it wound up eventually reaching a deal 5 days before the service’s launch. Link

Verizon is offering the entire Disney streaming bundle (Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+) for free to some unlimited wireless customers

Verizon announced last week that some of its premium wireless customers would receive Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, at no additional cost, without a promotional roll-off deadline. Subscribers to the plans also get Apple Music included, either for six months or indefinitely, depending on the plan. As stated by CNBC's Alex Sherman, "It's one thing for Netflix or Apple — companies that benefit from consumers shifting from cable TV to streaming — to declare an end to traditional media consumption. It's quite another when it's Verizon doing the talking." Let’s pour one out for pay-TV. Link


The ramifications of the ViacomCBS + Apple TV bundle. Why it exists. How this bundle happened. Why this bundle in particular. And why this bundle is NOT the future. Link

Americans Spending $1B a month more on streaming amid pandemic. Link

Vevo study reveals what drives viewer behavior with video. Link

Covid-19 drives consumers to spend more time than ever streaming videos on mobile Link

Search ad trends during the COVID quarter: clicks rise; formats differ. Link

Linear 'soon a thing of the past' as streaming video dominates media consumption. Link

The video streaming subscription plateau is coming - here's where advertising comes in. Link

‘We’re still in the wild west’: Free, ad-supported streaming TV war heats up with Amazon, Pluto TV updates. Link


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