Free idea for Netflix: Shuffle button

A simple idea of how Netflix could regain popular imagination: the shuffle button. This would bring the passive laziness that is so often associated with television watching into the on-demand world. Because staring at a screen with thousands of options of what to watch at any given time is too much pressure. You lose that willful ignorance of turning on the TV and being subjected to whatever the television gods dished out.

This could take shape in one of two forms: 1) a shuffle through a specific series, such as Arrested Development or Doctor Who or Saved By The Bell, where watching a specific episode isn’t as crucial as it is to just watch any of it, whatever’s on; or 2) a shuffle through an entire ream of pre-selected shows (or all the shows on Netflix — go crazy, it’s the 90s!). Then instead of gazing dumb struck at the options before you, the shuffle button does the thinking for you, leaving you with a comforting bath of television reruns.

This is how you recover from your public relations disaster. But don’t take my word for it.

3 responses to “Free idea for Netflix: Shuffle button

  1. Not a bad idea, but the whole Netflix “public relations disaster,” I think, is kind of a myth despite the fact that it definitely was a public relations disaster in the sense that it halved the stock price. They did a weird, dumb thing trying to split up the company (mostly because they’re trying to jump into the future before their customers are ready to). The stock price is slowly climbing back to where it is, and the company continues to expand internationally at a pretty amazing rate. Anyone who was smart enough to buy the stock at its low point are going to make an extraordinary amount of money off this “disaster.” So much of that was media-driven madness. On paper, the company lost half its value. But it only lost a very small percentage of customers, many of whom have already returned. The bigger issue is that as Netflix is more successful, it is more of a threat to the companies it buys content rights from. That’s why prices are eventually going to have to increase. And they’re going to lose content and some subscribers. It’s an insanely complex issue, but the “disaster” issue was so simple and so easily fixed, it still astonishes me that it did as much damage as it did. Regardless, the stock price still does not reflect the company’s value.

    As for the “shuffle button,” I’ve actually thought about this to some degree. I think Netflix will eventually turn into a Spotify-like product with channels where shit like what you’re talking about will occur. They could put in a “shuffle button” right now, but I doubt it would be worth the resources needed to create and maintain it. I don’t think too many people take serious issue with that inability to choose content.

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