Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

You Tell Netflix What You Want to Watch, and Now It Tells You What You Really Want to Watch

Netflix my listOne of the key features of Netflix is a vaunted set of algorithms. They are supposed to find things for you to watch on the streaming service, based on your viewing history.

But if you’d like to collect your own list of things you want to watch, Netflix lets you do that, too, via an “instant queue.”

Now Netflix is combining the two ideas. It is applying its computer intelligence to your watch list, and will start automatically sorting the movies and TV shows you have saved there. The idea is to show users “titles you’re most likely to want to watch right up front,” Netflix product executive Michael Spiegelman said, in a blog post introducing the change.

If you find that concept slightly unnerving, you can continue to manually sort your watch list — which Netflix is now calling “My List” — by changing your default settings. But the company said it has tested the new approach and thinks customers will appreciate it.

Among other tweaks, the new lists will also flag movies and TV shows that are set to disappear from the service in the near future as licensing rights expire.

And if you’re one of Netflix’s eight million users outside of the U.S., this will all be new to you. Netflix never made its “instant queue” feature, which stems from its DVD-by-mail roots, available to international streaming subscribers at all.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Everett Collection)

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