A few days ago I had the opportunity to read the first article in a series that my friend Iván Vidal announced to us on LinkedIn. Iván, with the authority that his knowledge and visibility of the sector give him, gave us a great analysis of Netflix’s strategy and the market segmentation they did.
This analysis left me wondering about a couple of points and prompted me to investigate and dig deeper.
Specifically, the claim that Netflix is pursuing the strategy of putting UX ahead of content struck me as very striking, especially when Netflix has focused heavily on differentiating itself in this chapter and pioneered producing its own content.
Starting with the production of House of Cards and continuing with the Oscar winner Roma and its disruption of the window exploitation model, which led to the exclusion of the film from the Cannes festival 2 years ago.
However, despite the $ 11 billion invested in original shows, 80% of the content on the stream is licensed, not proprietary content.
And more than 40% of the user base has never seen Netflix original content …
And how did Netflix score in usability? As a subscriber of the service, I was aware of the imperfection of its user interface, very visual but not very effective when recommending. Finding relevant content and searching successfully did not seem like her greatest strengths. Was it a personal opinion or was it extrapolated?
Investigating, I saw that I was not the only one with that perception, since 77% of the users of the VoD service reported having difficulties choosing a movie.
More revealing was the following data: of the 2 hours a day on average (3.2 hours during the Covid lockdown) that a user in the US spends on Netflix, 18 minutes are spent looking for which movie or series to watch, an incredible 10%. The time spent (or wasted) searching for Netflix is double that required by cable TV users and in any case an alarm signal that something is wrong.
And this when Netflix wants to position itself, in the passive part of the experience “I turn on the television to see what they are playing.” This was the second point of Iván’s article that left me wondering. How close Netflix was to that self-declared strategic objective.
It seems clear that to achieve this aspiration they have to improve their search engine a lot, minimizing the need for interaction. Netflix needs to make the search experience much more fluid, fast and intuitive, especially in a context of low usability such as television, a screen that 70% of its users use to consume movies or series. More taking into account that 46% of the population, and therefore of its wide audience, performs intensive searches, that is, it mainly uses the search box to reach the content.
Because the other way, in addition to the search, to offer a fluid experience and more similar to passive TV broadcasting compared to the more active one of a VoD, is to show relevant and personalized recommendations.
The reality is that Netflix users, for the most part, report that recommendations on the platform are frustrating – they find them repetitive, commercially biased, and irrelevant in most cases. It is not surprising that they recommend content that you have already seen or that have been recommended on different occasions without arousing your interest.
Perhaps it is this area, that of Discovery, to which Netflix should pay more attention, since it would contribute on the one hand to the strategic objective of improving the UX, bypassing the imperfect Search experience, and promoting a more passive consumption as they search. , and perhaps achieve greater consumption with longer sessions.