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Turning Off Autoplaying Previews (netflix.com)
533 points by dylan604 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 232 comments

Didn't ever expect to see this capability.

A bit unrelated, but: anyone remember in the "early" days when Netflix held competitions to develop the most accurate recommendation and ratings engines? Giving out million dollar prizes? And held possibly state-of-the-art tech for this?

And then one day completely gutted the star rating system, replacing it with a much-despised "thumbs up/down" system, giving up their "so good it's magical" recommendations for something that feels less accurate than a coin flip...

The Netflix Prize competition launched in 2006, before they had started streaming anything. The problem was to recommend a huge DVD-by-mail catalog to millions of users. By the time the competition finished in 2009, streaming was already growing rapidly. Nowadays their DVD business is a small footnote to their streaming business. The streaming catalog is much smaller than the DVD catalog and the consequences for starting to stream a show/movie you don't like are much smaller; you can back out and immediately start something else. You don't have to wait days to return your unsatisfying DVD and get a different one in the mail.

Netflix has ~6,000 items to recommend to streaming customers in the US [1]. This is about 6% as much content to recommend as the DVD-by-mail service has. Their streaming catalog size is actually shrinking over time [2]. Fine grained rating systems and better recommenders aren't going to move the needle much for Netflix's current business, because they now have a content availability problem much more than a discovery problem.

[1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/1013571/netflix-library-...

[2] https://www.streamingobserver.com/netflix-movie-library-shri...

You are certainly right about Netflix's catalog decreasing, but that doesn't explain why Netflix's recommendations have been downgraded over time.

I am reminded of the show Tuca & Bertie. It was a new Netflix original from the same people who created BoJack Horseman. You would think it would be obvious to surface the new show to anyone who watched the old show. Except that never happened. The show's creator even commented that Netflix's algorithm never recommended her her own show. She had to manually search to find it.

The only real explanation is that Netflix believes it is more important for customers to think the catalog is large rather than the catalog is good. Netflix wants people to spend 10 minutes scrolling through crap to find something to watch instead of simply listing all the recommended content at the top and for people to notice that there are only a few good options.

What I hate about Netflix’s recommendations is how if you watch any standup comedy special, Netflix decides that you’re a huge, undiscerning standup fan and recommends all standup comedy to you, forever.

Not sure of that. I have never watched standup and Netflix still recommends lots of standup comedy

Netflix is all-in on comedy, esp standup.

But I have the same problem with the music services -- I listen to a lot of "quiet" music playlists for sleep and work. And so, all the playlists Spotify build for me are quiet. But I also follow and listen to a lot of rock/noise/loud music. But the "made for you" formulas won't budge.

I jokingly believe I need two services -- one where I listen to ambient/quiet/etc, and another where I never listen to it.

But the probability is I'll stop caring about music services and live without them. I don't need to curate my relationship with services like they're tomagachi's. I pay for Youtube Premium, but when I subscribe to a certain number of music artists, it chokes my video subscription feeds.

Moving to willfully not caring for content, music and videos alike.

There’s definitely a big difference once you’ve actually watched one. You can create a new profile and see it for yourself. Or at least, this was the case the last time I attempted to verify.

Netflix’s recommended content has become so terrible outside things I want like Better Call Saul or Mindhunter, that I’ve cancelled the sub. Most of what they push to the top is straight garbage. Really badly written stuff.

Meanwhile I can pay the same for amazon and get more Picard, Mr Robot, The Expanse... and if the TV sucks there are plenty of movies on rotation.

I reached the same conclusion today. When I logged back in to disable the autoplay-previews, it occurred to me that the only reason I have a subscription still is to catch the remaining Sherlock (with Cumberbatch) episodes that I haven't yet seen.

But I realized they might also be found elsewhere, and it turns out they're carried by Amazon Prime Video. That was the last straw for my Netflix subscription.

I'm amazed by how thoroughly Netflix has changed me from a lover to a hater of their service and company in recent years. It's not just a matter of cancelling because they don't have a catalog I care about. It's that I feel lied to and manipulated as well.

I'm sure there was a narrow window when you could stream seemingly every film, ancient and modern, legitimately. Then the studios twigged and had to kill it.

I don't even mind paying on demand to stream a film. It's annoying and economically baffling when you can't stream a film even if you have your credit card in hand, ready to pay.

Last weekend I tried to find To Live and Die in L.A. -- from the 1980s but hardly obscure. I couldn't find it legitimately available to stream anywhere, for any amount of money.

I even tried Kanopy, which has been my go-to source for films I can't find on paid streaming services, but they didn't have it either.


And you sometimes can't even rent movies that you saw on Netflix as recently as a couple of years ago.

"Page Eight" was a great little spy movie with Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz on Netflix. Now you can't rent from anywhere, for any price afaict.

How does this optimize revenues for the studios?

The only thing I can think of is a mind share argument: they want you to watch the latest blockbuster instead. The Disney Vault is the cynical endpoint of this line of thinking.


This movie may be available through Hoopla in association with your local library.[0] It appears to be distributed in the US by PBS which doesn't have the best streaming availability.

[0] https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/10085700

It’s on Amazon, in the US at least, free with Prime.

Two films that I can't get on streaming or DVD are

* The Name of the Rose * The Draughtmans Contract

I spose I'll have to find them at an old fashioned DVD store, eg. https://filmclub.com.au/

These appear to be available at dvd.netflix.com:

The Name of the Rose (2019 series): https://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/The-Name-of-the-Rose/81093444

The Name of the Rose (1986 movie): https://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/The-Name-of-the-Rose/70000552

The Draughtsman's Contract: https://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/The-Draughtsman-s-Contract/459...

Your spelling of "Draught[s]man" might have misled you for that one. It's a little sad that Netflix's search returned no results for such a close spelling. I'm not sure why you didn't see Name of the Rose.

(although maybe from your example link you are in Australia and thus don't have access to Netflix DVD?)

This best is when it is temporarily no longer available to rent digitally because it has rotated back to HBO or SHOW.

I think they have both. Super anecdotal, but just last week I randomly discovered Altered Carbon through an online "best of decade" list. It's exactly in my wheelhouse. I watched it and loved every minute. It's been out for ~2 YEARS, and don't recall Netflix ever recommending it to me -- certainly not recently, when I've actively been looking for new things to watch.

This makes me wonder just how much other content they do have that would really appeal to me. It feels like rather than perhaps not spend _quite as much_ time on perfecting their recommendation algorithm, they've just completely given up. For a while now, the only real content that Netflix successfully "recommends" to me are things that I've already started watching.

Extremely interesting. Thanks for the reply and sources.

I'm pretty sure the new recommendation algorithm is basically just "recommend Netflix originals in a random order".

Edit: I feel like I should add something besides a snarky comment:

I was searching for a mid-2000s Best Picture Nominee a few days ago (something like Munich or Capote, but don't remember). Results 1 & 2 were The Irishman and Marriage Story. None of the other non-Netflix best picture nominees were anywhere in the results if that was the connection they were making.

There's a law of conservation of advertisement. It's not like you were going to get away from ads forever when switching from real TV. I prefer the purely interstitial (untargeted) commercials from real TV. With a DVR I can fast forward them, or always at least mute. Having Amazon/Netflix "recommend" things to me through what should be a functional unbiased system is more insidious.

Ads in the middle of the show? No way. It’s literally an interruption.

If it's for free OTA television, I'm OK with that. I don't know why people never rose up against it in cable/satellite-only channels that they pay for.

/I'm OTA, Netflix, and the library. But I mostly only use Netflix for the DVD service. I'm fortunate enough to have enough going on in my life that I watch very little video.


It's so out of touch with how most people think, it's genuinely fascinating to see. I wonder if it's a true belief or some sort of facade.

I think I'd easily bet 3:1, $1000 that if you polled people they'd rather have targeted end-of-show ads than untargeted mid-show interstitials.

I don't really like star systems because I spend way too much time deciding if something is 3 or 4 stars, or 4 or 5 stars.

I much prefer textual descriptions; for example "Terrible", "Don't like", "Okay", "Like", "Favourite", which has the same options as a 5-star rating system, but choosing between 3/4 and 4/5 is much easier IMHO.

I don't really know of any system that uses this, except this one music player I wrote myself (which has "Crap", "Meh", "Okay", "Super").

Not only that, but I don't trust myself to remember how I calibrated myself to the rating system in the past. If I'm more stingy with the 5-star ratings now than I was 2 years ago, then I'm going to skew things in a way that the system probably can't understand.

In other words, it not only expects me to define my own scale, it also expects me to stay consistent with it over time. I don't think that's realistic.

I honestly wouldn't mind if from time to time, a service asked me to stack-rank movies. Because that would be a question I feel confident I can answer. Give me two movies and ask me to say I prefer A, prefer B, or don't have a clear preference. Or give me 5 movies and have me put them order from best to worst, allowing me to say two of them tied or exclude some. Maybe the UI on this would be too weird for average users, though.

Relative individual consistency is not a necessary component in these systems, except perhaps in the most simplistic. It’s not exactly difficult to introduce temporal normalization / regularization into these models.

I don’t have any specific knowledge of Netflix per se, but I suspect the granularity of a 5 point rating system just proved to be superfluous. Even a +1 / -1 rating is probably sufficiently proxied by a simple measure of completion percentage (appropriately normalized).

> Even a +1 / -1 rating is probably sufficiently proxied by a simple measure of completion percentage (appropriately normalized).

I'm just hoping they're not making the same mistake here that they're making in the UI: showing movies I watched to the end as "continue watching", because I closed them on the end credits roll.

I've always thought the best design for a star system would be a pair of positive/negative buttons, where the rating you give is the truncated logarithm of the number of times you press the button. So you can like or dislike things a little very easily, but you have to expend 10x as much effort to really like/dislike things, and 100x as much effort to express absolute adoration/hatred.

Effectively, this would be a "proof of emotional work": it's not a measure of your own subjective experience of your reaction to the product, but rather measuring your level of objectively-observable motivation to [dis]recommend the product. Which, I would think, would neatly get around all the arguments about "what it means" for something to be 3/4/5 stars—provoking a large number of people to click a like (or dislike!) button 10 times seems like a pretty good predictor of some objective property that the product has. (Whether that property is "quality" is up for debate.)

"Costly signaling theory from ecology posits that signals will be more honest and thus information will be accurately communicated when signaling carries a nontrivial cost. Our study combines this concept from behavioral ecology with methods of computational social science to show how costly signaling can improve crowd wisdom in human, online rating systems. Specifically, we endowed a rating widget with virtual friction to increase the time cost for reporting extreme scores. Even without any conflicts of interests or incentives to cheat, costly signaling helped obtain reliable crowd estimates of quality. Our results have implications for the ubiquitous solicitation of evaluations in e-commerce, and the approach can be generalized and tested in a variety of large-scale online communication systems."


Yep, as much as people hate it, when it comes to recommendation, up/down is all the data you need. Trying to build a system out of a 5 star system just adds unnecessary complexity, and the reality was that people used the star system differently making it even harder. up/down thumb is explicit and cleaner to work with.

The problem with the up/down system for me is not my own ability to like/dislike specific titles, but more the fact that Netflix no longer displays the average of all user votes. Sure different people used the 5 star system in different ways, and there were some who may have misused it by giving poor ratings to things they never intended on watching, but it was a great signal to me for the extremes.

Scenario: I'm considering some odd looking sci-fi movie to watch that I never heard of before. Ratings between 2-4 stars might not tell me much, but very reliably titles with only one star were terrible movies. Now Netflix happily recommends any and all sci-fi titles, saying they are a "98% match" for me! Sure by category, but when the movie is a low budget dumpster fire I no longer have that instant signaling that the previous rating system gave me.

IIRC, Netflix never showed the average, but rather the rating they predicted you would give it, taking into account your previous viewing and rating.

I agree that thumbs up/thumbs down is probably better to encode appreciation than a 0-5 scale. But for building a recommendations engine a single bit of information is not enough. If I and everyone else flags shows we are not interested in viewing 'thumbs down', then all shows end up with terrible ratings. Similarly 'thumbs down' for a great movie, but seen it already thanks so stop screaming it at me. Thumbs up and Thumbs down is certainly not all the data you need, as is demonstrated by Netflix as it stands today.

Netflix used to define the ratings as "Hated It", "Didn't Like It", "Liked It", "Really Liked It", and "Loved It". I didn't find it difficult to memorize.

What's to stop you from applying whatever textual descriptions you want to the numbers?

Because I might apply different ones, making them useless in aggregate if I assume anything I like has to be a 4 or 5, but you assume that you'll rate anything you like as low as a 2, and reserve just 1 for "don't watch it"

This is why the Uber/Lyft rating system is effectively useless. Five stars is basically "was not unsafe", and four and below indicate significant safety, cleanliness, rudeness, or other problems.

If each star rating had a textual description of what it meant, and drivers didn't have to maintain something like a 4.3 (or whatever it is) in order to stay on the platform, the ratings would actually mean something.

Then you have my girlfriend who rates everything a 3/5 because it's average or to be expected. 4/5 for particularly good service. And nobody gets a 5/5.

I think star systems are a waste of time.

This is why I never fill out my car dealership's service department surveys. I'm not going to give a normal oil change visit 10/10 in every category because that's simply bullshit. Giving anything less gets my service advisor punished for not delivering excellent service.

I'm honest with him and tell him exactly why I won't be filling it out. If I do ever fill one out, he'll know exactly why before I send it in.

I usually do the same but for Uber I rated decent drivers 5/5 because I'd been told everyone does this hopefully she does the same.

That’s still the way the star ratings appear when I watch Netflix using my 2013 Samsung Blu-ray player. For the first few years of watching Netflix, I would religiously rate films and TV show (even those I’ve already seen in the cinema) to help its recommendation engine but it didn’t really help much.

My 5-star system:

: I want to give this more than 5-stars

: This is pretty good, but not MORE than 5 stars

: I've enjoyed this.

: I need to keep this for completist reasons

*: Delete this.

Oh wait, that's my iTunes rating system

goodreads has textual descriptions for its star ratings of "did not like it", "it was ok", "liked it", "really liked it", "it was amazing".

Netflix should have an "So bad it's good" rating. ;)

We need to invent a quantum ratings system.

taste.io does Awful/Meh/Good/Amazing

Remember when you didn't have to wade through that awful carousel view to find what you wanted to watch? Or when they didn't try to hide your "continue watching" list in a steaming heap of inaccurate recommendations?

Except for a couple of shows, I've almost completely switched to Prime.

"continue watching" being deep down is my biggest pet peeve. Nothing gets me angrier than having to scroll and search just to continue watching the same show every single day.

Statistically, if each show is 8 episodes, then 88% of the time when I come to the homepage, I want to "continue watching" not "find a new show". Why the hell is continue watching not always the very first row.

They deliberately switch around the placement of the homepage queues. The goal is to keep you engaging with the product and discovering new things. They don't want you holding a Netflix subscription just for Friends, or whatever.

But why? Isn't watching Friends a viable reason to own that subscription?

You're more likely to cancel when you're done watching that one show. They want to continuously give you a new reason to keep paying.

Their awful UI was one of the reasons I dropped the service. I wonder what fraction of former customers are like me.

They're hoping to hook you on something else so you'll keep your subscription after you get tired of watching Friends.

The Prime interface is way worse than Netflix. Admittedly it didn't have this awful autoplay but even continuing a show I'm currently watching is a game of Where's Waldo.

The thing I hate about Prime is when I start a movie, it needs subtitles enabled, I go do that, then when I hit the back button, instead of taking me back to the movie, it takes me back to the top-level and they've removed the movie I was just watching, so now I can't find the damn thing! They do that when I start a movie, I don't like it, and I go back; I get that. But the messed-up Back function when enabling subtitles does the same thing. Then I have to scroll through a huge amount of stuff trying to find the "Continue watching" thing.

Other things I don't like about Prime:

- they used to have a setting for "Show Prime only", because I am never going to pay for TV. They removed that and now you have to see all their pay crap.

- if I run across a Prime thing that looks interesting and add it to my watchlist, it might no longer be free when I get around to watching it. This sucks so bad, and I was bitten by it so often, that I no longer use the watchlist feature. It made me too mad.

I have given up trying to watch TV. I was spending half an hour scrolling through menus of crappy movies, then giving up. I won't cancel Prime because I split that with a friend and we both get the 2-day shipping, and I probably won't cancel Netflix because I have 4 other friends on my subscription, but I haven't used either video service for over a month.

It's bad, I'll give you that. On the other hand, Prime shows you user star ratings and IMDb scores which, when taken together, give a much better idea of watchability than Netflix's match scores.

The Netflix UI is very abusive. They have no respect for the value of your time or your attention.

It was right around the time their first "Originals" came out. I guess accurate recommendations is less important than shows with cheaper licensing costs or home-grown originals.

While I'm sure this had a lot to do with it, I wouldn't be surprised if they also came up with a better rating system using statistics on the amount of views, how long it's been out, what percent watched it all the way through, etc.

If that were true, wouldn't the actual recommendations be better rather than substantially worse?

better for Netflix or better for us?

I sometimes think that they make it harder to discover content, so that it's also harder to discover that there is nothing you'll actually like. This will keep you browsing longer and starting some movies you'll stop watching. Shitty customer experience, but as far as I know they optimizer for time you spent with the platform.

They coulda just made their originals part of the simpler rating system instead. As jacked up as it is, it would be nice to find shows that I'd more than likely actually like.

Netflix now has much better sources of information than the self-reported star ratings.

Self-reported ratings fail in a lot of ways. Users can upvote what they think they're supposed to upvote. They'll downvote something, then go watch the sequel, because "It's terrible but I love it". And since they're seeking out stuff that they suspect they're going to like, they either compress all of the ratings into the top tier, or they end up "hating" things that they actually thought were merely so-so.

I suspect that even the up-down ratings get little attention in their recommendation engine. They have far more information, especially in the streaming service. Did you watch all of it? Did you watch it all at once? Did you watch it more than once? Did you watch it immediately after discovering it?

That's all stuff that users can't fake or be confused about. You don't get users saying, "Citizen Kane is the greatest film of all time, but I really don't want to see it." It's more likely that you can tease out what it is that a user actually wants to see, rather than what they tell you they want.

Netflix did run a competition back in the DVD days, when they had less interaction with the user. They did get a slight improvement, but at about the same time, they introduced streaming, and a whole lot of Big Data techniques appeared that could take advantage of that new data.

So it wouldn't surprise me if the up/down buttons were completely ignored by the recommendation engine. Maybe it's just a reminder to you: "Oh, yeah, I did see that. It sucked."

The new system clearly misses some things, but a lot of the problem is that the DVD catalog is immense and full of classics, but the streaming catalog is weak and full of crap. The whole thing may be back-ported into the DVD recommendation engine, but that's the redheaded stepchild at Netflix these days. They tried to spin it off entirely.

All current user ratings systems for movies are terrible because new users can bury a great movie.

There are classic, important, society-changing movies from the previous century that were highly praised by contemporary critics and won scads of awards. But then people today watch them with zero context or understanding of what was happening or what the world was like and give them bad ratings because they can only compare them to the latest shoot-em-up sequel of a sequel of a sequel.

It's one of the reasons Rotten Tomatoes is worthless for anything more than 20 years old, and why the voices of movie critics are needed so badly today.

See also: Yelp.

What we need is something more like Amazon's old "people who liked this also liked"; we have to give up on the idea of a rating being an absolute thing for all time for all people. Some people want "critically acclaimed" movies, a lot of people don't. Both are valid.

The situation gets even worse from a diversity and internationalisation standpoint. You have to consider what different national and language groups want.

It's not supposed to be a measure of "greatness". It's there to predict how people will feel about the movie. If Netflix subscribers don't have the context to understand/appreciate the movie, then Netflix shouldn't recommend it to them.

That's the opposite of "worthless".

FilmAffinity is awesome for that - basically, after you vote a bunch of movies, it finds the N active users that voted most similarly, and then it offers you as recommendation whatever those people vote favorably that you haven't seen yet. You can actually see those selected people and filter them manually too.

The consequence is that you don't care about things like masses of teenage girls upvoting the latest vampire fad, people downvoting a classic because they don't understand the context or anything, because only your bubble matters to you. And if you fear that the bubble will keep you from discovering new things, there's a way to set up the algorithm to calculate your similar users so that they aren't exactly close to you - or you can go to a specific users profile if you know them and see what they're voting.

I find it amazing compared to IMDb or rottentomatoes, but for some reason I think it's mostly unknown outside of the Spanish speaking world.

I'd like to explicitly make a point (your description seems to hint at it) that star ratings also indicate something orthogonal to liking stuff, something like segmentation of types of content.

Let's use a food analogy - I may go to a very fancy restaurant with exquisite food, and see that it holds up to its standards and is quite okay, and deserving all its stars. And in comparison I may have a basic hotdog or a sloppy burger, and admit that it's really nothing special, the fancy stuff was better, and that hotdog deserves less stars.... but at the same time that definitely does not mean that I always prefer the fancy stuff, and I can reasonably want that hotdog right now.

So that's the same with movie star ratings. I can at the same time agree that I liked movie A much better than movie B (and rank them accordingly), and I might re-watch movie A the fourth time and wouldn't bother with movie B ever... and at the same time not be in the mood for a complex movie like A, and want a simple, cheap, stupid movie similar to B, but with more explosions.

It's clear that 1 star sucks, but "5-star movies" and "4-star movies" perhaps simply indicate different genres of something roughly like "fancy" and "non-fancy" movies; and a fancy movie that's not really good doesn't get 4 stars but much worse; much like in the food analogy if the fancy restaurant serves something comparable in quality to that basic hotdog, it's not getting the same rating as the hot dog stand but much worse because of the unmet expectations.

> They did get a slight improvement

Not only did the winning entry only bring in a slight improvement, and the payout followed suit, but they never actually used the winning algorithm.

Netflix's big winner for this contest, unplanned as it was, was their own recruiters and dev teams: Netflix became a company great developers wanted to work for because it cares about "hard problems".

So why did their recommendations get so much worse?

I believe it's mostly because their content got worse. It's hard to recommend good things when there are fewer good things there, and you've already seen all of the things you like.

They used to be alone in the space. Now they're competing with a lot of other services. Not in the DVD space, but I think they don't care about that space, and there are fewer people using it.

A lot of people suggest that there's another factor, that for streaming they pay different amounts for different content, and may not aim you at a movie that's expensive for them to show you. I have no idea if that's true.

1. They didn't want their originals to be rated below third-party titles

2. They didn't want users to see that highly rated content was slowly disappearing from the service

The supposedly killed it when the Amy Schumer special was bombed.


They really messed up by not giving that to Andrew Schulz

They redefined their use of the word "recommended" from "we think you'll like this" to "we want you to watch this". That's what happens to every in-house rating system eventually, independent rating systems are better.

what causes you to say much despised? I personally enjoy thumbs up v thumbs down - I find with 5 star ratings systems people resort to extremes and usually use it like a thumbs up/down anyway (1 star or 5 star)

I'd prefer up/sideways/down. Sometimes I watch things that are brainless, they aren't thumbs up worthy but they are not totally thumbs down either. But if this was hiring a sideways is always down in my book, so I could see why it's not totally useful.

"Sideways" exists: don't rate it.

Null !== 0

Not rating does not mean the same thing as rating something as average.

Not in a literal sense, no. But I bet their model treats it similarly.

Yes, I remember those days of the content. But, I don't really agree that the thumbs up/down system is giving me bad recommendations. I still find the 'percentage' that it thinks I'd like is probably really accurate. I have to assume that the recommendations work with more data than just the thumbs up/down interaction, since they probably don't fully trust the user input. And I imagine all the stuff I watched for 10 minutes but stopped is more valuable in determining usefulness than me going out of my way to rate it.

A small detail many forget is that Netflix pays very different prices for different shows. I don’t know the exact negotiated rates, but basically you can envision a blockbuster is going to cost more per stream then a Netflix Original. Eventually Netflix was/is bound to game their own recommendations since it saves them costs.

The only case I can see where this incentive doesn’t exist is for shows that Netflix pays a fixed price to stream rather than a unit price per stream.

I believe most if not all shows/movies on Netflix are acquired through a general use license for a period of time rather than a “royalty scheme” based on number of views. So while they definitely want to promote original content as in the long run it saves them money (in license acquisition costs) the per stream cost is relatively homogenous.

> A small detail many forget is that Netflix pays very different prices for different shows.

Yeah, it's extremely annoying. Netflix essentially mocks its customers by keeping the best works just out of their reach. Almost every time I search for a classic film, I find its sequels instead. The film I actually wanted to watch was apparently too good for Netflix's pay grade.

Netflix has Terminator 1 and 3 but not 2; the first Mad Max but none of the others; Spider-Man 1 and 3 but not 2; several Hannibal movies and a TV series but not Silence of the Lambs; some Star Wars movies but not others; the list goes on...

Netflix still does a ton of statistical experiments. A good one is video thumbnail selection.

2016 blog post: https://netflixtechblog.com/selecting-the-best-artwork-for-v...

2018 presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjQMEjkrUGo

But that’s more about making people click right? So while those experiments serve Netflix well, the old recommendations and ratings served both Netflix and users.

True; more was addressing the point about Netflix regressing from statistical rigor.

The algorithm requirements changed. It used to be to recommend the "best" content for you and now it is to recommend the cheapest content for them.

I only recall them ever giving out one one million dollar prize on Kaggle. As far as I know they never implemented the winning system because it would have been too difficult to engineer the pipeline.

I’m not sure whether you’re trying to imply that non-ML based, non-personalised simple average ratings are better or worse than ML. Regardless, I have nothing nice to say about anecdotes.

I feel like netflix will never solve the recommendations system in favor of the viewer. We need a 3rd party service or some sort of overlay in order to improve search results.

I feel like netflix tends to recommend a lot of bottom of the barrel movies along with movies that I've already seen, there's no fine grained control.

I mean, there are third-party review websites where you plug in shows you've watched and it recommends new ones, even showing you on which services they're available.

I just doubt people actually care so much that they use them. It's a minor nice-to-have feature. But the law of triviality will suggest that everyone will argue about it every time Netflix comes up, and we do, even though I doubt we really care.

I don't think it's any more useful than searching "best $genre $year" when you're looking for new things to watch.

Since I started using MovieLens.org and let it learn what I like, I get pretty decent recommendations. I am also adding tags after I watch the movie. Recommendations has to be highly personal. Thumbs up/down is not enough. And global rankings are totally useless for me. I rarely like top-rated movies. I hope no corporation buys them and rewrites/destroys the system as it is common with all acquisitions because the way it works now is perfect. They should open-source it to preserve it and help the society. I pay for Netflix but I rarely use it due to DRM (a bit complicated in Kodi) and lack of movies (too many shows).

Star systems are largely trash anyways. What is 2 stars vs 3 or 4? but we know 1 Is bad, and that 5 is great.

If anything a 3 star system is better, 1 - bad, 2 - neutral, 3 - good. Simple.

Often the 5 star system just devolves into 1, 4, or 5 anyways. Or in the case of averaged ratings like your ride share apps, you get stuck as a floating point. Suddenly 4.3 is significant vs 4.8. It's all silly.

I fully support the thumbs up or down. It's effectively a 3 star system anyways. 1 - Thumbs down, 2- neutral enough to not warrant a response, 3 - Thumbs up

A lot more people use the thumb system than were using the star system.

They used the equivalent of the thumb system. Many people give 5 stars, or 1 star. There are some that give in between. Many places consider anything less than 5 star to mean there was a problem (Uber, Amazon, reviews for phone support).

Do you have statistics on that? I’m not sure I believe you, given Amazon ratings seem to have quite a broad range, so the pattern is established.

edit: specifically, that people only give 1 or 5 stars

No, it's anecdata. A lot of stuff I see tends to have a large amount of 5s and 1s. There is often 2-4s, but the amount is very often less than 5s or 1s.

It's mostly just looking at trends. A few things I've purchased from Amazon come with a little advertising slip that says "if this product is anything less than 5 stars, let us know what we can do to make it better!" I've seen plenty of stories from people complaining that their less than 5 star reviews got removed for X reason (often because it's "dishonest").

Maybe that'll be my next learning exercise: scraping the count of reviews from Amazon to support this hypothesis.

It might be that people are less motivated to take the effort to rate something if it was "meh, okay" -- whereas a 1 or 5 star rating is something you might want others to know about, so they can see/avoid the show.



“Netflix settled on “thumbs up/down," which is widely understood to imply that you are training an algorithm to know what you like, [Netflix’ Cameron] Johnson said.

“That simple change led to an over 200% increase” in ratings, Johnson said. The inclusion of a “percent match” number also reinforces the idea that these recommendations are personalized, he added.”

Yes, it was discovered that when you had to order movies in the mail, you had different preferences.

If you could only watch one movie at a time, sure you want to make it good. But when it's streaming, people mostly just want to binge watch garbage. Who needs million dollar prizes when you can do just fine recommending 50 different shows, until the user gives up finding anything good and watches a Netflix original.

I suspect there was a really good justification for this that they can't directly share with us. These sort of decisions tend to be like that.

Probably getting rid of recommendations led to some massive increase in viewership that couldn't be ignored.

One person probably rated a movie they hated 1 star, whereas someone else rated it 3 star or 4 star. The inconsistency makes it hard to build a model that works for everyone. Also, the current one technically has 3 state, down, up and no vote. That's much more explicit and easy to build a model around.

I really don't get what's up with that...2012 or so, Netflix was suggesting movies I'd never heard of that I ended up loving. Now when I log in, it just demands I watch Family Guy (ugh) ...and starts auto-playing it, of course.

They obviously determined that thumbs up/down either generated better training data or more training data. They wouldn't intentionally make their recommendations worse just for the sake of it.

> They obviously determined that thumbs up/down either generated better training data or more training data.

I'm guessing that the definition of "better" changed at some point, perhaps when they went from 1-5 stars to +-1 thumbs.

In Netflix's early years, I was confident that their classifier's goal was to predict my future rating for a given video. I.e., it was part of a larger system designed around my viewing pleasure.

Around the time they switched to thumbs, I started suspecting the classifier was being used to manipulate me towards optimizing Netflix's profitability, instead of my viewing pleasure.

> They wouldn't intentionally make their recommendations worse just for the sake of it.

Why not? Every big platform that I know of has eventually done this with either 1p or “sponsored” content (Google, Amazon, Apple, etc.). In this case their incentive would be to push their own content above 3p content. What matters to them is their revenue, not maximizing the accuracy of their recommendations model.

That still depends on a good recommendation system, it's just an extra finger on the balance.

Giving a boost to first party content is very different from making it "just worse".

From a customer's perspective, there's no difference. These are just rationalizations the business tells itself for those who need to reduce their cognitive dissonance.

>They wouldn't intentionally make their recommendations worse just for the sake of it. reply

As has been mentioned before, there is at least some motivation for doing so. One, it means their originals don't rate below third party titles (as far as we can tell), and two, as they lose content the average rating of what's left will likely fall.

Their catalog has shrunk so much there is no need for a recommendation system; their classics category only has 42 movies in it.

i (naively?) thought that the thumbs up/down was coupled with info about what you watched, what you clicked on, what trailer you watched etc. is this not the case?

It's amazing it took this long. I can understand how some people might be okay with this feature but it causes me actual anxiety to use the Netflix app on my AppleTV. Before autoplay I could mindlessly browse looking for content. Now I hurry through to check if there is anything new and get out as fast as possible. They must know that people use the app less since this change... right?

I often used to leave the Netflix app open when I left my TV idle, because it was interesting, not too distracting, and I could start something from it quickly later. But with autoplay, I quickly stopped doing that because it was too distracting. I rush through the app now only after I have something in mind to watch already.

While I'm ranting about Netflix, I absolutely hate the feature where if you leave a show paused for more than five seconds, it starts showing spoilers (the episode description). I often open Netflix before I eat a meal, get it to the start of the next episode of a show I'm watching, and pause it until I'm ready to watch. And then I carefully avoid looking at the screen to avoid the episode description/spoilers. The descriptions are only useful after I've watched the show and want to find a specific episode. I don't want to see them before I've watched the episode!

The Netflix app just seems so actively hostile. I'm used to apps being unpleasant because of bugs, but being unpleasant because of features is unusual.

I believe I read somewhere that it did result in an overall increase in viewership. There's no way they don't have those metrics.

My guess is that for some majority of users who weren't super bothered by it it genuinely caused them to watch more things. Even though a vocal minority was extremely upset about it, the numbers still worked out overall. Of course adding a preference is easy, and people who aren't upset won't bother to change the default, so this is probably a win/win for them.

I can't imagine but think "viewership of folks who left the app open"

In other words, could you separate out:

- folks who naturally came to a stopping point between shows.

- others who ragequit because of annoying previews?

Here's a secret: many people shout about rage quitting. No one actually does.

statistics bear it out: they just come to a natural stopping point between shows. :)

How did they define viewership? Because viewership of previews definitely increased.

Presumably they can tell the difference between viewership of previews and resulting viewership of the actual shows :P

You're assuming that anyone would be incentivized to tell that difference. Goodhart's Law is a thing.

If this is true (and it sounds sensible to me), then why not just give the vocal minority a way to opt out? This way everybody's happy.

Yes, agree on the anxiety. My girlfriend makes fun of me because I'll be browsing and while talking to her I habitually move the focus left-right-left-right just to prevent the annoying video from playing. She hates it too. Does anyone like this feature?

I'll give my dissenting opinion:

I do like the feature. If I'm actively looking for something to watch, I like the fact that I can quickly see a preview. They normally don't start playing until I've finished reading the excerpt anyway, so it's not some massive annoyance. By the time the preview starts to play, there is a high probability that I want to see it. And if not, I just continue scrolling. It is the tiniest of inconvenience for an overall improvement to the experience of finding something to watch.

I suspect there is a high correlation between people that hate autoplay and people that hate the open office. Some people find tiny little distractions absolutely unbearable, but I don't.

If I am actively looking for something to watch on TV, why would I be so bothered that a video starts playing on my TV? I don't really understand the use case of someone that wants to leave the Netflix home page up just hovering over a title.

It's because some people don't look titles one at a time. If I have in front of me a list of 30 movies, the fact that I have the cursor over one doesn't mean I'm considering that one. I might be thinking about the name of the movie that my coworker mentioned yesterday, deciding whether I want a comedy or an action flick, or discussing with my girlfriend what to see; or simply reading diagonally the list of 30 movies, which for most of them I'll probably know something about without reading a description. Making me force my attention where my cursor is forces me to consider them one by one instead, and not pause to ponder.

Liking to see a preview is fine - and there could be a button for that, so that I could tell the app to show it. But the way it is (was) I don't have the control, it's the UI who decides where my attention should be, and that's wrong.

The best comparison I can make it's an overeager shop attendant asking "can I help you?" When you're looking at a product - except in this case it doesn't matter how many times you tell them you're just looking, they come back 8 seconds later to ask again.

It sounds like you are watching on a computer?

I watch on my Roku tv, where there is only a few titles on screen and it makes sense to scroll threw them one by one. Maybe that's the difference?

I can see a lot of titles on my TV on netflix

Nope, smart tv (using the playstation app).

Same with their Roku app - I quickly jump from one thumbnail to the next to avoid triggering the autoplay.

I have noticed that the loading of the preview has actually made the jumping to the next thumbnail slower on my AppleTV app

If I browse for more than a couple minutes on my appletv, the UI becomes super unresponsive. I have to force quit the app to return to normal. I wonder if disabling autoplay trailers will help prevent this behavior.

I definitely sometimes just bail on looking because I hate the feature. So happy to see I can turn it off.

Maybe now that they have competition, we'll see more stuff like this.

Yeah I'm super surprised it took this long. I mean even an "audio off on dashboard previews" setting would have sufficed. It's the single most irritating "feature" of any of my TV apps.

Yeah, it's a nightmare when my kids are browing using my account -- tons of 18+ horror gets shown in amongst cartoons. It's such a dumb system.

Yes, we have more than one account. Mistakes happen.

> They must know that people use the app less since this change... right?

Whether they make `autoplay=true` default will answer this.

Same here, caused anxiety. We must be a minority bc I started avoiding Netflix completely unless I saw a show in the news that I wanted to check out.

I just unsubscribed. Once in a while someone convinces me there is a show of their's worth watching. I subscribe and cancel immediately. I get one month of service for the price of ~2 coffees. That's usually enough time to watch the one show that was recommended. If I try to look for something else I run into the auto previews and just turn off the app happy that I my subscription will end in a few days.

Agreed... an attempt to make users consume more, so annoying.

Finally. I've been so frustrated about the autoplaying previews, especially since I've experienced that after a few seconds, the menu will fade out and Netflix will play the video as if you had clicked "Play". But I haven't clicked "Play", I only happened to rise up from my couch, hear the preview starting, do whatever for 30 seconds and then come back having to stop or restart the episode.

Absolutely terrible. I'm really happy Netflix has given us a way out.

Another bad thing about the fading menu is that it seems to get treated the same as if you affirmatively decided to watch it.

It shows up in "continue watching" and I believe probably stuff like "because you watched A..." (...here are B, C, D, and E).

Which is just silly because even if they want to steer me into watching it because I'm too lazy to tell them to stop, that doesn't mean it makes meaningful data for recommendations. They can tell whether I pushed a button or not, but which seems like a pretty meaningful signal to ignore.

I was excited then for a second but I don’t think this means what I think it does. Does this mean it’s possible to disable the auto play on trailers for something unrelated when you finish a series?

I literally finished Bojack Horseman after years of watching 30 minutes ago. End it’s left hanging there in a poignant moment but I have to jump up to stop the trailer for god knows what, and the a minute later I have to do it again after the credits have finished. Years of investment in a show, but I’m not allowed 10 seconds to stop and digest it. (PS amazing series)

I actually hate that "feature" even more than autoplay. It's completely disrespectful to both the viewer and to the content that you're watching.

This option is to turn off autoplay when browsing. It would be great if it also disabled the auto play on trailers at the end of a show.

That bugged me enough the first time it happened that I immediately stopped what I was doing and worked on disabling it.

If you use greasemonkey/tampermonkey then the script below will disable the post-episode playback (along with a couple other UI changes)


I was hoping to find your comment in this thread, thank you so much for this. It makes me mad someone else is controlling these very basic things, treating their userbase like mindless monkeys. All these things could be hidden somewhere in the UI, and everybody would be happy.

My Netflix watching is all via an AppleTV, but thank you anyway.

Interesting. I phoned and complained about this as soon as Netflix started doing it - I think it was about two years ago! What really got me (and I pointed this out to the cutomer service rep) was that the first preview that showed included several swear words. I thought that that argument alone would be enough, let alone how annoying it is to have a stupid light and sound show while I am browsing.

So all I can say is "about time"!

> was that the first preview that showed included several swear words

From feedback like this, they might have just made a policy to not allow cursing in the preview whether that was by choosing different scenes or bleeping them.

They actually for a while have disabled previews for content not labeled "family friendly" if you setup a parental-controls PIN.

I had the same complaint years ago. I believe they said "some people got this who were in special test groups" or some other nonsense.

The Autoplay is REALLY, REALLY, A-N-N-O-Y-I-N-G!!!

Actually, I hate most of the current design (UI/UX). It's really streamlined when all you want to do is push "play", but everything else is, quite frankly, laborious.

I know this is going to make me sound old, but so much UI/UX is getting worse. I can't even tell which tile is highlighted on my appleTV because it's only about 5% larger than the adjacent ones. The only way you can tell is by the change as you cursor around, you can't tell at a glance (and this is on a 75" TV).

At this point I think they’re just changing stuff to change stuff. Like some new hire(s) somewhere(s) are looking to make a name for him/herself by changing stuff.

Or the cult of A/B testing has been fully implemented.

I wonder if the UI developer pool is changing, or the influence of marketing and other groups is screwing things up.

Good user interfaces use timeless concepts. This might imply that conservative folks make the best UIs, which might not be as sexy.

And a good browsing experience shouldn't be held hostage to "featured promotions" or worse, advertisements.

Maybe there's a market for nice experiences.

I think of costco vs other stores -- at costco, you go get your stuff, pay for it and get out. At other stores there are featured products and advertising influencing the store layout and cluttering the checkout line.

In Apple TV settings I enabled High Contrast. It's in Accessibility.

Thanks! Just did that last night. I was afraid it was gonna be ugly as hell, but it was just a subtle change with a white box around the selected tile. Perfect!

Yeah, I really don't know why UI/UX designers feel the need to highlighted selection to be so minimal. HBO Go's highlight isn't much better than Apple's

Same issue with many apps on NVidia Shield TV.

Our old Apple TV, which we've had since maybe 2012, finally died. Given how much use it gets, I've been amazed how long it kept working.

Bought a new one late last year, and the whole UX is a big step backwards, but the Netflix app and the automatically playing previews is high on the list of annoyances.

It feels like one of those "Do you actually dogfood this? Have you actually compared it to previous releases?"

This was the primary reason I cancelled my account. Secondary reason was the poor search / filtering options - they have continually gimped these features in favor of their own recommendation engine and homepage. Their recommendation engine has a recency bias and a popularity bias. As someone who liked to watch obscure world cinema Netflix makes it way too hard to find such things and to be honest their catalog doesnt even have a lot of such content anymore. I suspect one of the reasons they dont have any grids/lists and filtering in their UI is that it will reveal just how small their catalog is in most genres now.

As someone who liked to watch obscure world cinema Netflix makes it way too hard to find such things and to be honest their catalog doesnt even have a lot of such content anymore.

These two complaints are actually two manifestations of the same complaint. With a shrinking catalog, it is vital that the UI be nerfed in order to keep it from being too obvious just how little content there is.

If netflix replaced their UI with a single excel spreadsheet containing data about their content, I would consider it an improvement.

Same, and I called to cancel to let them know. For me though the autoplaying trailers were the last straw. The UI/declining quality of offerings, to the point where i would spend so much time looking for something new/interesting I'd get bored and close the app. I really dont think this alone will bring me back. Sad because I used to love Netflix, had subscribed back in the DVD days.

This might be related to a popular reddit thread that got 28.5k upvotes on reddit the other day: https://www.reddit.com/r/television/comments/exkrij/you_know...

I love how the news of it being changed is also on top of HN, /r/television and /r/movies right now (and probably more subreddits too).

Goes to show how hated autoplay was.

I imagine a large percentage of discussions about Netflix on Reddit have at least 1 upvoted comment about autoplay. I think you are an outlier if it doesn't bother you.

Getting 5 seconds when the credits start to stop it from auto-playing the next episode bothers me sooo much more than the previews (also not a fan of those, but mute is good enough for that).

I'd just stopped using Netflix unless I knew exactly what I wanted to watch. When I had to use it, I'd bounce around between tiles constantly to prevent the clips from playing, knowing full well that they must record every interaction you have with the app. For once I was glad they did.

I think I've noticed another change in the few days too. This one related to closing credits.

Maybe a month back, they started cutting off playback as soon as closing credits started to roll. I can understand the motivation because sometimes credits are boring.

But other times, they are part of the enjoyment of watching the show. For example, every episode of "Grace and Frankie" ends with a different song, carefully chosen to fit in thematically with that episode. People have written articles about these song choices, made Spotify playlists, etc. Yet Netflix cut them off. (And that's a Netflix original show.)

Anyway, in the last few days, it seems like they've stopped doing this. They now have a button in the UI that will stop playing the credits, but the button looks different, and it doesn't cut the credits off by default.

I'd settle for a "I don't ever want to see this movie, do not show it to me again" button. But of course, if we used it to winnow away the chaff, it would show in stark detail how sparse their catalog really is.

I transferred my to-watch list from IMDB to reelgood.com (wrote a script to do it), which shows what is available on what service I subscribe to. This has cut out the time I spend browsing the catalog.

I was actually watching TV last night and found myself hesitant to switch from Hulu to Netflix because deep in my head I was saying "oh that's the one with the noisy menus".

And don’t forget the volume check.


Goddamnit, I just woke up every mammal in the house.

Netflix; your jingle/call sign thing doesn’t need to be the loudest thing on on my TV. Get some group therapy, find your self esteem and chill the fuck out.

Oh, wow. It's always impressive to see how a slow wave of rising internet buzz suddenly peaks and affects change in an impenetrable multinational organization. Hurray! :)

I was excited about this for a minute, but then I realized I canceled Netflix months ago. This was one of the reasons. Sticky things being sticky, I'm not going to magically start paying again now that they finally undid something dumb. I'm a lost customer for a long time.

When you put down the wanton AB testing for a minute and actually listen to your users, you can make your product better. Glad to see this.

Now PLEASE give an option to turn off autoplaying the next episode like 3 seconds into the end credits.

That is an option demonstrated on that very Netflix help page, if I understand your request correctly.

There is an option for "off" or "on (when the credits start)" but not "when the music finishes" or "when the video finishes".

Yeah, this. I don't mind autoplay, but end credits (and the accompanying music) are an integral part of a show for me. The Witcher, which is Netflix's own show, had amazing original songs in end credits which were all skipped by default.

This is fantastic news! More times than I can count I have decided that it wasn't worth the effort to peruse through the app before my ears get assaulted if I forgot to mute my TV beforehand. It is anxiety-inducing and unpleasant to have to keep the selection moving just so audio doesn't blast from my TV when I just want to browse.

Perhaps we can thank the fact that streaming services now have competition, and the quality of their UX matters quite a bit.

I was satisfied personally when they added a mute button for previews, but I'm glad an even "stronger" option now exists.

Official announcement: https://twitter.com/netflix/status/1225506511184703493

> Some people find this feature helpful. Others not so much.

> We’ve heard the feedback loud and clear — members can now control whether or not they see autoplay previews on Netflix.

I hated this SO MUCH when they rolled it out but now I love it, because I can get a quick sense of the look of the actual movie instead of trying to judge it based on the cover or thumbnail. I think it's actually a good use of video in a video app and makes sense and a fix of sorts to the discovery problem.

But happy it's optional for those who never warmed up to it.

Now they need to fix their recommendations.

If I watched 2 episodes and marked show thumbs down I DO NOT WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN!

Instead my continue to watch is a list of shows i didn't like!

How hard is to figure it out, or at least give me an option to black mark a show. Anything really. They spend millions on show and then package then is such user unfriendly manner .

So there's still no option to turn off the thing that after the last episode of a show (or even a movie), it auto plays a trailer from some random show, and if you managed to cancel that trailer and start to watch the credit, it will come back again later?


I honestly stopped watching most netflix due to this feature.

I would go there to watch something specific but I would not browse around because of that annoying auto-play crap

BOOOOOO it seems the setting has no impact on the Roku App

I am still getting AutoPlay on Roku

have you tried switching profiles then switching back? I think some settings get cached on device until you do a profile change.

Yes, and rebooting, and logging out and back on, and several other things

I have 2 Roku;s. 1 is working (no autoplay) and 1 is not (still autoplay)..

the one with the AutoPlay still enabled is my primary one, and the newest one, the other is a older Roku Streaming stick.

Thank you so much! I actually stopped my membership due to this issue as I was tired of making UBlock Origin filters on my laptops.

Finally! Whenever Netflix features a scary show or movie on their homepage and their preview auto-plays, it always make me jump.

Finally. Every time a preview plays i cringe. Most of the problem is that it just starts abruptly at max volume. The logic is failed. The procedure should be, if the item is hovered, wait 2 seconds. Then fade in preview video and audio for 2 seconds. Don't know if the behavior is the same for all platforms though.

DAE know if this would prevent previews for other shows from playing during the credits of a filn or series finale? It might seem petty but not being able to watch the credits and reflect in peace (without a frantic run to disable the auto-trailers) was my tipping point and I promised not to go back until it was possible disable it.

Have only just turned it off so don't know yet, but my bet is on no. I'm right there with you on reflecting in peace though. Sometimes you want to just take a breath and think about what you saw. That same "feature" was one of the things that drove me away from flow TV, as they increasingly pushed the next program more and more aggressively, until it would actually start the trailer/speaker BEFORE the current program was finished. Drives me insane. Who watches a 2.5 hours movie, and as soon as the credits start rolling, goes "alright next movie, play play play!"

Great! The best feature of years of Machine Learning practices. The machine finally learns what I want.

Wow THANK YOU! I agree I didn't expect to see this happen. Now if we could get Roku to turn off the 'auto add a channel if you hit the play/pause button by accident' I would swear less at my streaming setup :-)

I have come to despise this "feature" but without it I would have never watched Kung Fury. I am glad I can now turn it off but wonder what I may miss going forward.

Praise the day!!! The tyranny of auto-preview has ended!

On a serious note, I get why they added it.

For some, it saves a few button presses.

But boy was that an annoying feature.

Literally made browsing Netflix stressful.

Good lord, it's beyond time for this. This "feature" made looking for something to watch on Netflix completely impossible for me.

Finally! This is so much more family friendly. Also more polite, as previews would often rudely interrupt someone in the room mid-sentence.

Why oh why is this not a per device setting? Is it really inconceivable I might like or dislike the feature in different environments?


Thanks Netflix!

Next feature request:


I like the intros too many series. The intro to House of Cards really set the mood for me.

I wrote a greasemonkey/tampermonkey script to do this.

And to disable auto-play of next episodes (now happily obsolete, perhaps) and "promoted post-play preview content".

There is no UI so you'd have to toggle the script on/off if you wanted to resume watching intros and recaps.


I like to watch intros and recaps sometimes. I like the current design where I can choose to skip if I want to.

The recaps often contain spoilers. When you’re binging, the story line is too recent and it’s a lot easier to read into the scene selection.

If they do a clip of someone we thought died six episodes ago, guess what, they aren’t dead.

Exactly - I also hate the 'next week' bit they do at the end of some shows. They ruin all the surprises!

And then there are the synopses...

I'd love to know what metrics they were optimizing for when they introduced this feature.

Definitely viewthrough rate (i.e. % of people who subsequently view the video after hovering over a video thumb and the autoplay triggers vs. normal viewthrough rate after hovering over a thumb).

Of course, a weakness of this testing is failing to account for negative metric impact outside of the one you are optimizing.

I think they correlate engagement to retention.

Imagine growing your platform to a size, where its frontpage news when you add a setting :)

Awesome! auto-playing previews has always caused issues on my Roku devices

Have you changed it on your Profile, I did but the RoKu app still autoplays

update: looks like 1 of my 2 Devices is working correctly (not AutoPlay), so here hoping the other starts soon

I'd love to see the tracking for the rate that people turn it off.

I considered interviewing at Netflix so I could complain in person.

oh my god, finally! I can't understand why they ever even had this in the first place. Is there anyone who doesn't despise it?

Thank the Almighty Bob. About time they did this.

I miss getting DVDs/whatever in the mail.

Finally. Thank you!

I consider the previews spoilers. And autoplay destroys pacing because it skips the preroll/credits.

Good riddance!!!!

Bless you, OP.

> Changes to these settings are specific to a profile and will take affect across all devices.

> Note: There may be a delay before the setting takes affect.

> Note: There may be a delay before the setting takes affect.

"Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Some awful growth marketer who took a Reforge class is crying today.


Now, I'd like to see them do this:

1) Quit emailing me/sending notifications to keep watching shows I start and don't like.

2) Bring back a purposeful, decent recommendation system.

3) Allow filters so only movies/shows in your language or dubbed in your language are shown. (...or just some kind of filter.)


The in-app notifications are nnoying for sure, but I've never received emails from them.

Email prefs are here: https://www.netflix.com/EmailPreferences

Marketing prefs are here: https://www.netflix.com/MarketingCommunications

Thank you.

I should have clarified my response. When I contacted netflix they told me you cannot unsubscribe to one part of the notifications ... it is all or nothing. So, if you turn it off you aren't alerted when new shows are added, etc.

This is what it looks like with an episode list at the bottom.


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