Netflix unveils new profiles for users

New feature means subscribers can add five user profiles to one account

Netflix unveiled a new profiles feature for users, aimed at improving persoanlisation when accounts are shared. Photograph: Mike Blake/Files/Reuters

Netflix unveiled a new profiles feature for users, aimed at improving persoanlisation when accounts are shared. Photograph: Mike Blake/Files/Reuters

 

CIARA O’BRIEN

Netflix has added a new function to its video service designed to make it more personal for subscribers where an account is shared.

The streaming service now allows customers to create up to five profiles for a single account free of charge, keeping recommendations for each user separate.

Netflix’s recommendations for customers are built on a number of factors, including what they have previously watched. If different users are watching vastly different material on the same account, Netflix’s algorithm will change the recommendations accordingly.

The new profiles are being rolled out over the next two weeks to all users of the service, and can be accessed by most devices that support the service, including the Netflix site, the app on iOS devices and consoles such as the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. More devices will be enabled in the coming months.

The profiles have been in development for about nine months.

“The more important thing is to get it right from a user perspective,” vice president of product innovation Todd Yellin said. “We don’t launch anything on Netflix until it’s proven by user behavior that it adds to our core metrics that show user satisfaction – how long are they sticking with the service, and how many hours they’re streaming. We have a constant influx of ideas.”

Testing among a smaller group of users found that users were using the service more when they were given the new profile feature.

Mr Yellin said the company was working on other new additions for Netflix. “We are a highly hungry group to continually improve the service,” he said. “We’re going to launch Netflix lists, which is a way for members to remember titles that they don’t want to watch now, but they want to watch later. The wishlist feature is being launched a few weeks after we launch profiles.”

Netflix has more than 37 million members worldwide, with the majority – almost 30 million - located in the US.

The company is trying to pitch Netflix as an alternative TV service for users, bolstering its back catalogue of TV shows and films with exclusive content, including the recent remake of House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Hemlock Grove. Netflix has also signed a deal with Dreamworks Animations to bring original programmes based on the studio’s popular franchises to the streaming service.

The video service is also making the final episodes of US TV series Breaking Bad available exclusively to Netflix UK and Ireland members on the Monday following the programme’s broadcast in the US.