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Netflix making the "Venn diagram of TV" with new shared profile feature

Why it matters to you

Disputes over control of the remote may die down if Netflix allows couples to share a profile based on what they both like watching.

The days of long, drawn-out negotiations with your significant other over what you two will watch on Netflix are soon to be things of the past. During Netflix’s There’s Never Enough TV live-stream event on YouTube on February 8, Netflix’s vice president of product innovation, Todd Yellin, revealed the streaming service is testing a new feature that will allow people to share a profile.

Yellin says the shared profiles would be based on the tastes of two people who share an account with separate profiles of their own. “You can have a Bill and Susan profile. You can find out where your tastes overlap.” The experience will be customized so content that matches both of your tastes will be recommended. Yellin only referred to the hypothetical of two people’s shared tastes being represented in a shared profile, so the feature could initially be limited to two profiles from one account.

Yellin did not specify when or if the shared-profiles feature will be launched, but he did give insight into how Netflix picks new features. “We’ll try it with 1,000 people with it and 1,000 people without it, and if the 1,000 with it tend to watch more content, then we’ll launch such feature.” The future of you and your significant other finally agreeing on what to watch on Netflix could come down to 2,000 people.

Gates and Yellin both refer to the shared profile feature as the “Venn diagram of TV” and they delved into what will probably shape the feature: taste communities. Taste communities, according to Yellin, are clusters of shared tastes Netflix has observed among global video consumption behaviors among its 93 million subscribers. Yellin says Netflix has identified more than 1,300 of these taste communities.

Netflix recognizes its users do not want to labor over picking something to watch. Yellin says “the typical Netflix member is only going to look at 40 or 50 titles that are at the top of their search.” They are only spending between one-and-one-half and two seconds on each selection they are given, barely long enough to read the description of each title.

With more than 1,000 pieces of original content being prepared to be unleashed on Netflix subscribers, sharing a profile could be huge.