Having upended the way that we watch movies and television shows, Netflix is now experimenting with a more traditional TV channel-style approach by putting on a programmed schedule of shows.
At the moment this new feature, which Netflix is calling Direct, is only available in France. It's a channel that showcases the most popular shows on the streaming service, with proper starting and end times and everything.
For now the Direct channel is only available in web browsers, and only to a selected number of users. By the end of December, Netflix says, everyone in France should have access to it. As yet there's no word on an international expansion.
"In France, watching traditional TV remains hugely popular with people who just want a 'lean back' experience where they don’t have to choose shows," explains Netflix in a statement posted to its website (opens in new tab).
Improving the experience
"Maybe you're not in the mood to decide, or you're new and finding your way around, or you just want to be surprised by something new and different," the Netflix statement continues. "'Direct' is a web-based experience that’s the same for everyone who watches it."
If you find yourself wasting valuable viewing time clicking around for something to watch, having Direct pop up as soon as you log in could offer an interesting alternative – as long as you're living in France.
Netflix is never shy of testing out new features or experimenting with formats to keep more people tuned in for longer. It says its first scheduled TV channel-style service is one of the ways in which it's "looking to improve the consumer experience".
Of course competition in the streaming market is stronger than ever, with newcomers like Peacock, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus all jostling for space alongside Netflix. This might end up being one of the features that keeps subscribers on board.
Via Android Police (opens in new tab)