Thursday, June 16, 2016

How Netflix Monitors Your Viewing Habits

Ever wonder how Netflix knows what to recommend to you next? That’s because the video subscription service uses a system to monitor your viewing habits.

There’s a science to this. Viewing content online has become increasingly popular in the past decade. Many argue that Netflix has become an active competitor to linear TV, and threatens to make it obsolete. Other competitors such as Amazon, Shomi and Hulu have joined in on the race. With the competition as fierce as ever, Netflix must continue to satisfy its subscribers.

How Netflix Monitors Your Viewing Habits

One surefire way to do this is by paying attention to users’ viewing habits in order to curate and create content.

It isn’t a secret that Netflix’s content depends highly on the data retrieved from subscriptions. It’s what influences what types of shows will be made based on what people are interested in. It has a say in who to cast and what crew to use.

It’s like an online video version of Big Brother watching over us, carefully monitoring our viewing habits.

And after all, it’s a fair assumption to believe that Netflix has an algorithm for these things, right?


Would you believe us if we told you that Netflix’s user monitoring is a lot more simple than we thought?

One journalist from the Toronto Star visited Netflix’s headquarters in Los Gatos, California. He discovered that algorithmic data must just be a thing of the past. Instead, Netflix employees monitor what you watch in real-time.

After building a seemingly flawless rating system, Netflix “de-emphasized” that model. Gone are the days when it’s star-studded ratings from 1-5 actually meant something significant. Now, Netflix still pays attention to your rating…it just doesn’t use it as primary data.

In his article, Toronto Star reporter Tom Vanderbilt says,

asking people what they like is not the same thing as observing what they do. The beauty of the Internet is that regardless of what people say, you can see, with increasing fidelity, their actual behaviour.

Clearly, Netflix doesn’t have full faith in its users to trust them to be honest with their interests. Nevertheless, the video streaming service is able to extrapolate what viewers are really watching. This means they know what you watch when you watch it, where you’re watching it, where you press the pause button, what you watch next and what you repeatedly watch.

For more information, read Vanderbilt’s article here.

Here at Key West Video, we consider ourselves avid Netflix watchers. With a full portfolio of compelling video content, we invite you to check out our website today.

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