Netflix has made a science out of influencing your decisions

netflix binge scale why streaming apps can t challenge
Finding a series or film to watch on Netflix seems pretty straightforward: You see something you like, so you click on it. Simple, right? Not so much. Your interest isn’t dictated simply by whims. As Nick Nelson, the company’s global manager of creative services, explained in a new blog post, Netflix has spent years gathering data on how to appeal to users with a single image.

When a user opens up Netflix, Nelson revealed, the streamer has about 90 seconds to sell them on something to watch before they lose interest. On top of that, users spend less than two seconds on average considering different titles. With time being of the essence, pictures matter because they’re processed quickly by our brains.

Relevant research supports this approach, of course. Nelson cited consumer research studies conducted in 2014 that found that images garnered 82 percent of members’ focus while browsing through the content library. As a result, Netflix has been using title card artwork to make its pitch to viewers. The pictures are nothing if not deliberate.

It’s no mistake that the streamer has moved away from using a group shot of the Orange Is the New Black cast on subsequent title cards, for example. Apparently, we prefer to see three or fewer characters, and we want the ones we see to be recognizable. As such, images of the hit comedy-drama’s star Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Schilling) were featured for seasons 2 and 3 instead.

We also want big emotions, so forget any placid expressions. It turns out that polarizing characters engage viewers as well. “Our members respond to villainous characters surprisingly well in both kids and action genres in particular,” Nelson wrote.

Evidently, what Netflix is doing has been working. The streaming service has been wresting viewers away from cable and other platforms and hooking them on its content instead. “It is clear that an image can move people in powerful ways,” Nelson said, “and done right, pictures can help people find the stories that they will love even faster.”

Maybe you don’t have to be so hard on yourself about the number of hours you’ve spent burning through Netflix’s offerings. After all, the company’s systematic research and analysis made you do it.

Movies & TV

How Laika blends 3D printing and CGI to make mesmerizing stop-motion movies

With each film, Laika Studios pushes the bar higher for stop-motion animation. We explore Laika's latest techniques for its new adventure, Missing Link, which the studio it calls a Kaleidoscopic travelogue that ranks as its most ambitious…
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 teaser proclaims it's almost feeding time in Hawkins

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Home Theater

Need to get rid of an unused Netflix profile? Just follow these simple steps

Need to delete an unwanted profile from your Netflix account? It's easy to do, no matter what kind of equipment you've got. Check out our handy how-to guide for step-by-step instructions.
Home Theater

You can now watch four PlayStation Vue streams at once on a single Apple TV

PlayStation Vue subscribers can now watch March Madness in style via Apple TV, which can now stream up for four separate games to your TV at once, making it easy to catch all the on-court action.
Home Theater

Apple's Airpods 2 could be released as early as this week

Apple may release new AirPods in the first half of 2019. A wireless charging case, health sensors, water resistance, and better Siri integration are some of the improvements rumored to be part of the new package.
Deals

Amazon drops price of 65-inch Sony 4K Smart TV by $300 for March Madness

You can get a fantastic 65-inch Sony LED TV for $300 off right now, in what's best described as the perfect TV deal to lead you and your living room into this year's March Madness tournament.
Home Theater

Smart speakers are about to get an IQ bump thanks to new Qualcomm chips

Qualcomm announced a new chipset that is designed to make the next generation of smart speakers sound, listen, and connect better than ever before, and it could soon be in your living room.
Home Theater

What year is this? Apple might drop a new iPod tomorrow

After two days of surprise hardware releases that have brought us new iPads and iMacs, rumor has it that we may see an update of Apple's iPod as soon as tomorrow, sparking a mixture of nostalgia and curiosity.
Home Theater

Dish TV customers can access up to 13 NCAA March Madness games in 4K

If you're a basketball fan looking to get your fix of NCAA Championship action in 4K, Dish TV will be airing up to 13 of the tournament games in the ultra high-def format, starting on Tuesday.
Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what movies and shows are leaving in April 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for April 2019 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.