WHY it takes you SO LONG to decide what to watch on Netflix

What mood are you in?

Stupid, Simple
Dec 3, 2017 · 3 min read

How long does it take you to find something to watch? The average Netflix user takes on average 18–20 minutes per DAY to choose something. That’s more than 3 and a half days a YEAR spent scrolling through the same shows and movies, often resulting in watching the same three sitcoms over and over again. That’s because the way we look for something to watch and the way shows are presented are not the same. We need a better way to find what to watch: by mood.

There’s just so much…what was i going to watch?

The Problem with Genres

Action, Romance, Adventure, Comedy — genres were created to organize and categorize, which may have worked when TV and film worked along simple rules where what happens in the movie defines everything about it. For example if it’s an action movie, it’s an epic story of strong characters achieving big feats — think Ben Hur and Spaghetti Westerns. A romance entails an attractive couple sharing a ‘meet cute’ and falling in love over a series of coincidences and mishaps —the likes of Singing in the Rain and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But what about Guardians of the Galaxy? Today we have action-adventure-scifi-comedies, and romantic-drama-comedy-fantasies spanning across these outdated genres that tell you what might happen but not what you’re really in for. It’s harder to judge a show by a genre.

What we really need

If you’re at home flipping through Netflix and Hulu, you don’t care it’s action or sci-fi, you care about watching something that suits how you feel. Bojack Horseman and Black Mirror are in wildly different genres, but they both are complex enough to be lost in thought and emotion while watching. Movies should be categorized by what mood you’re in, or better yet, what experience you’re trying to have. Want a feel good nostalgia laden time? Try You’ve Got Mail. Looking to be lost in larger than life ideas with whimiscal absurdist comedy? Taste some Rick and Morty. We’re in need of a better way to find something to watch, suited to how we search.

What type of Moods?

What are some of these mood? Sure we can think of ‘happy’ or ‘sad’, but more likely you’re looking for a specific experience, such as:

You don’t want to think but just relax

  • You can turn to a simple plots, slapstick jokes, slow or little character development, where you’re able to jump in and out of episodes and still enjoy it
    e.g. Family Guy, The Great British Baking Show (aka The Great British Bake Off)

Feel smart but also very entertained

  • You’ll probably like something with complex and deep themes, informative, doesn’t talk down to you, and with some comedy
    e.g. Rick and Morty, The West Wing

Ignore your life and immerse yourself in a new world

  • Looking for a serialized story based in a fictional world
    e.g. Stranger Things, Game of Thrones

If this rings true for you, checkout my side project where I curate recommendations by mood to save time searching for what to watch.

Savar is a Product Manager, and spends far too much time finding new content online.

Stupid, Simple

Written by

It’s Stupid, Simple to improve yourself. Everything is a story. Opinions are my own, onions are not. http://stupidsimple.me/

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