How Netflix Decides what you “Want” to Watch

Within the past decade, Netflix seems to have taken over the internet as the number one source of TV and Film entertainment. This amazing innovation has changed the way the world watches television, and it has only just begun!

Aside from the spectacular TV shows and movies that Netflix releases such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Fuller House, Netflix has started various social media phenomenons such as:

1. Netflix and Chill: 

The act of turning on Netflix during a date, with no intension of ACTUALLY watching it…



2. Binge watching:

Finishing a television series as quickly as possible, without breaks, commercials, or social interaction

How to Binge Watch

3. Halloween Costumes:

Source: Pinterest

Whether you know it or not, Netflix plays a role in not only your television habits, but your social interactions as well. There is definitely a “Netflix Culture” that says it is socially acceptable to sit in bed all day to find out what happens in the newest season of your favorite show; what else are Netflix subscribers expected to do when entire seasons are released at once!?

Netflix uses the top section of their home page to “suggest” (AKA advertise) which shows you should be watching right now. This is apparently is based on a variety of information such as: location, previous shows watched, newest releases, shows that Netflix wants you to watch, etc.

For example, this is my current Netflix homepage:

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 7.28.29 PM.png

Since I enjoy watching Netflix Originals, the site features a new season of one of their original shows, “Happy Valley.”Personally, I don’t care about “Happy Valley” – I have not watched the first season, I don’t like TV characters with British accents (unless it’s Sherlock), and I seldom watch police shows. So then why is “Happy Valley” suggested to me if suggestions are based on each user’s preferences???? BECAUSE AT THE END OF THE DAY NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU!!!!….Well at least Netflix doesn’t lol.

The personalization feature makes the user believe that they are receiving individual recommendations from Netflix, when in reality, the shows are put there using a standard algorithm. If Netflix was “personalized” to me, the top section of the page would be where I left off in my latest episode of House of Cards… but it doesn’t, which proves that Netflix is serving its own agenda by pushing shows that usually would not be successful if they weren’t featured in this hierarchal system.




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