Netflix is breaking with convention by rolling out a programmed linear content channel of the kind familiar to broadcast and cable TV viewers.
The trial channel can be streamed directly from the Netflix website in selected regions of France, with plans to broaden coverage throughout in the country in December.
What do we know about the new Netflix channel?
Netflix Direct is a subscriber-only channel streaming curated TV shows and movies from France and abroad, pulled from the streaming giant‘s existing content library.
Netflix has broken with convention in the territory having observed that French consumers prefer to watch pre-selected content rather than dig out content under their own steam.
The streaming service previously trialled a ‘shuffle‘ tool to ease the process of content discovery by tailoring recommendations to individuals but has now gone one step further with a traditional fixed menu.
Illuminating the thought processes behind its change of heart, the streaming provider wrote: ”Maybe you’re not in the mood to decide, or you’re new and finding your way around, or you just want to be surprised by something new and different.”
Why does it matter?
The back to the future strategy channels customers towards watching the same content at the same time as others for the first time, opening the door to more social viewing.
Netflix is keen to eliminate as many barriers to entry as possible, providing the means to passively consume media instead of presenting an inexhaustible wall of content that may push many to switch off.
The novel experiment coincides with a tail-off in the number of new subscribers as the streaming provider reaches saturation point in key markets.