Netflix Is Testing Human-Curated ‘Collections’

Netflix, a company powered by the strategic use of data, relies on artificial intelligence to suggest new content that its streaming customers are likely to be interested in.

Now it’s looking to potentially add a human touch: The company has launched a limited-scale test of “Collections,” a new feature that presents groups of movies and TV shows organized by themes. That’s in addition to Netflix’s personalized, data-driven recommendations and hundreds of algorithmically generated categories.

Currently, test is limited to Netflix’s iOS app and is available to a subset of the company’s customer base. Netflix confirmed the test, first reported by TechCrunch, and said the Collections are selected by members of its creative teams.

“We’re always looking for new ways to connect our fans with titles we think they’ll love, so we’re testing out a new way to curate Netflix titles into collections on the Netflix iOS app,” a company rep said in a statement. The Netflix spokesperson added that, as with all of the company’s tests, “Collections” may or may not become permanent features.

The categories of curated content in Netflix’s test include “Watch in One Night,” “Oddballs & Outcasts,” and “Just for Laughs” and “Critics Love These Shows,” per screenshots posted by TechCrunch and the Verge.

Here’s a look at the Netflix Collections, shared by one of the users in the test:

News of Netflix’s curated-recommendations test comes after HBO earlier this month launched a promotional website called “Recommended by Humans,” featuring paid testimonials from purportedly actual fans of its shows, a jab at streaming services like Netflix that use algorithmically driven content suggestions.

That said, Netflix already offers a curated Collections section for its legacy DVD-by-mail service, with categories that include “Oscar Nominees of 2019” and “From Books to Movies.”

Hulu, for its part, has provided human-curated collections since its earliest days with an editorial team that compiles and updates lists including Hulu Picks.

Meanwhile, this week Netflix began rolling out a new “Latest” section in its apps that includes listings of newly released titles, and TV shows that will be released during the current and following weeks. The upcoming titles include a trailer, and users can request to be reminded when a title they are interested in becomes available to stream.

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