Netflix is testing a shuffle button for TV episodes
James R | On 22, Apr 2019
Netflix is testing a new shuffle button for TV episodes.
The feature, which was confirmed by Variety this weekend, is designed to suit subscribers who don’t know what to watch, but do know what what TV series they’re in the mood for. The function would select and play an episode from a TV show. That might be entirely random, but Netflix is also testing the option to play “a popular episode” of a TV show. Shows that are included in the are The Office, Our Planet, Arrested Development and New Girl.
“We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety. “These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, and may not become permanent.”
Netflix’s VP Product Todd Yellin recently spoke about the possibilities of varying the way the streamer presents TV episode’s at a recent event, noting that users “don’t have to watch it in the order that we tell you”, particularly when it comes to anthologies or documentaries such as Chef’s Table. Indeed, Love, Death + Robots, Netflix’s recent animated anthology, experimented with playing episodes in different orders for different users.
Netflix regularly runs these kind of tests on small subsets of users, often limited by device type or platform, before comparing the split test to users without that feature and determining whether it would improve engagement metrics. The random episodes, for example, are currently being tested on the Android mobile app.
Only a small number of new features are then rolled out, with previous tests including an instant replay function, and trailer ads between episodes. Netflix is currently planning to test lists rounding up the most popular 10 episodes of different series on users within the UK.
“For those who want to watch what others are watching, this may make choosing titles even easier,” says Netflix. “After a few months we’ll decide whether to end or expand the test.”