Netflix could be dropping its “match” score, one of the central and most obvious features of its service.
The score shows up as a percentage when viewers are scrolling through films and TV shows. It aims to assign an exact score to indicate how likely it is that a person will enjoy their choice.
But viewers instead find the feature “confounding”, according to the New York Times.
The match score was invented as a follow-up to a “Surprise Me” button, which was first introduced in 2021. It used Netflix’s algorithm to pick something it thought viewers might like – letting them just press the button and have the choice made for them.
That too did not take off, however. Executives had been “incredibly confident” about the new feature but users rejected it, the same report said, and Netflix dropped it last year.
Instead, Netflix is publicly increasing its focus on “tagging”. That adds words to films and TV shows in an attempt to quickly describe them.
Many are just one word long. American Nightmare is “Riveting” and “True crime”, for instance, while Fool Me Once is “psychological and suspenseful”.
There are 3,000 tags in all, the New York Times reported. The most popular are “romantic”, “exciting” and “suspenseful” – while the least common is “Occupation: farmhand”, the report said.
Netflix believes that the tags are key to its success over other streaming platforms, the company suggested to the New York Times. They help entice viewers to choose to press play and keep up their engagement with the platform, they said.
That is partly because users go off the platform so quickly. The tags, pictures and other information attached to a given video have less than a minute to work: on average, if someone hasn’t chosen to press play within 53 seconds, then they are unlikely to watch anything at all, one executive said.
The tags have been one of those tools aimed at making people choose something to watch and stay on the site, the company believes. They have been around since Netflix’s days as a DVD rental service, but the company is leaning on them more heavily in the belief that it sets it apart from competitors, the report said.