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Netflix Launches New Way to Promote Originals: Your Profile Icon

Netflix already uses every opportunity to highlight its slate of original series and movies in its apps, website and on-screen menus. Now it’s using profile icons Netflix customers use to access their accounts to pitch originals, as well.

The streamer in the next few weeks is rolling out more than 100 new icons, including ones featuring characters from Netflix originals including “Stranger Things,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Fuller House,” “Queer Eye,” “Money Heist,” “One Day at a Time,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” “Bright” and “Okja.”

“We know the series and movies on Netflix are more than just things you watch to pass the time,” Cathy Conk, director of product innovation at the company, wrote in a blog post. “The stories — and the characters in them — are also your heroes, frenemies, soulmates and everything in between. We’re thrilled to give you a way to show your fandom and make your connection with Netflix more unique.”

Netflix still won’t allow customers to use their own pics in their profiles, à la social networks.

Sure, the option to pick, say, Crazy Eyes from “OITNB” or one of the “Stranger Things” kids as your profile pic is mainly just a fun lagniappe from Netflix to the shows’ fans. But it’s also another cue to steer people toward Netflix’s own programming and keep them streaming more hours of video.

To date, the relatively limited selection of icons Netflix provides for user profiles have included smiley faces with different-colored backgrounds, a panda, a penguin, a one-eyed monster, and a mustachioed figure wearing sunglasses.

Netflix first launched profiles in August 2013, providing up to five individual profiles per account to let each member of a household (or a buddy you’re password-sharing with) see their own personalized recommendations and watchlists.

Users also can set maturity-rating limits on individual profiles to restrict children to only kid-friendly content. (However, profiles aren’t password-protected, so, according to Netflix, “You, the parent or guardian, will need to ensure your child uses only the correct profile.”) In addition, you can set up and customize Netflix profiles for different moods, such as “romance” or “thrillers.”

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