Netflix explores technology to target older demographic

One of the top impediments to the older generation adapting to use streaming services is the need to search and research what shows are worth watching.

Streaming giant Netflix is testing a system to knock down this final barrier, with the trial of a service in the French market, called Direct, which operates more like a terrestrial TV service, but with better access to the back catalogue.

If the French trial is a success, this system could be relayed to Australia soon to target the older demographic.

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“In France, where traditional TV consumption is very popular, many viewers like the idea of programming that avoids having to choose what to watch,” the company explained in a statement.

“Whether you are lacking inspiration, or you are discovering Netflix for the first time, you can let yourself be carried away without having to choose a particular title and let yourself be surprised by the diversity of the Netflix catalogue.”

The Direct feature is accessible via the web browser and has a real-time flow that will be the same for all members, allowing them to discover the best content available on the service in much the same way they discover new shows on traditional television.

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Victoria University screen media expert Marc Scott told Business Insider Australia that he expected such a service to prove very popular among older Australians if it were rolled out in the domestic market.

“[There is an] older demographic that have grown up with television where you turn it on and you flick around, switching between channels,” Mr Scott said. “You find something you want to watch and that’s it.

“That’s also a generation that’s probably not as tech-savvy to scan through menus.”

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While the Direct service represents a big reversal of the streaming service’s normal mode of operation, it often posts five episodes of the same series back to back, retaining the binge-watching component that made the service so popular.

The platform could also be used as a promotional tool for underperforming content on the service.

Do you have a Netflix account? Do you find searching for new shows to watch frustrating? Would you be more likely to sign up to a streaming service that offers a direct service that operates like a normal TV channel?

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Written by Ben



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