Netflix has seriously clever way of hooking you into personally watching something
| Last updated
Netflix users have just discovered how the steaming giant gets you to watch something and they are seriously shocked.
While many may assume the app simply suggests films may like based on what you’ve previously watched, it’s far cleverer than that and adapts its content to you.
Even more incredibly, the streaming site can do this in real-time thanks to a clever algorithm developed by boffins at the streaming brand.
As you may have noticed, your Netflix account may not always look like your best friend’s, mum’s or even your partner’s.
Instead, eagle-eyed viewers have noticed that different thumbnails for the same show will appear on different accounts – but why is this?
Well, the streaming site tailors artwork based on your like and your viewing habits previously in order to get you to watch more content.
Say for instance you really enjoy horror films, Netflix will use this data to find scary artwork for shows like Stranger Things to entice you to watch the show.
It’s why you may have a thumbnail showing Vecna for the show, whilst your best mate who loves comedies will have an image of the cast dressed as the Ghostbusters.
Surprisingly, the algorithm will even find thumbnails of actors you like – depending on what content you’ve watched previously.
This is why a thumbnail for Enola Holmes may only show Millie Bobby Brown and not the rest of the cast if you’ve binged-watched Stranger Things recently.
While it’s not a perfect system, Netflix has kept adapting their algorithms to become more and more specific over time.
Previously, the brand just relied on users’ viewing habits and adjusted thumbnails to match their tastes.
However, the streaming giant has begun to use AI to fill in the gaps in user data with something called ‘contextual bandits (yes, you read that right).
Instead of waiting for data from viewers, they will compare one user’s viewing habits to others and build up a profile based on similar users’ algorithms.
This is why you may have noticed new artwork for the same show, depending on what you’ve been watching that month.
It continually adjusts the thumbnails and will present a home page layout based on what will most appeal to you in a bid to keep you watching.
So the next time you see the dreaded ‘are you still watching’ title come up, don’t feel bad for binge-watching - after all, the science is against you.
Featured Image Credit: Jirapong Manastrong / Alamy Stock Photo/FocusTechnology / Alamy Stock Photo
Topics: Netflix, TV and Film, Technology