netflix viewership

For the decision-averse, Netflix is rolling out a new feature: a TV channel. But only for France. Netflix is launching Direct, a new linear-style 24/7 content channel similar to the kind of programming you get with standard broadcast and cable TV, which will be tested with its subscribers in France.

According to a report from Variety, Netflix is debuting a new curated content channel called Direct to its French subscribers. The channel will feature curated content of French, international, and U.S. feature films and TV shows that are available on the service, allowing those who are paralyzed by decision-making to get a taste of the streamer’s infinite well of content.

On its website, Netflix said it chose France to test its first linear channel due to the “consumption of traditional TV [in France].” It added that “many viewers like the idea of programming that doesn’t require them to choose what they are going to watch.”

Netflix said in a statement:

“Whether you are lacking inspiration or whether you are discovering Netflix for the first time, you could let yourself be guided for the first time without having to choose a particular title and let yourself be surprised by the diversity of Netflix’s library.”

Direct will be accessed via Netflix’s browser-based website, and will initially be available in France only, having already rolled out in select areas yesterday with plans to expand to more of the country through December. France has a healthy nine million Netflix subscribers who can provide ample testing ground for the streamer, but it’s been speculated that this new feature is Netflix’s olive branch of sorts to the country, which has been notoriously apprehensive with the streamer — Netflix’s clashes with French film festivals like Cannes, and with French theaters have been well-documented.

This isn’t the first time Netflix has launched a feature that addresses viewer indecision. The streamer previously launched a “Shuffle” button that would play titles that it thinks the subscriber would like at random, from its recommendations. However, this was curated per user and the precious “algorithm.” Netflix Direct will feature a fixed slate of programming that will be the same for everyone tuning in. In that manner, Netflix Direct is remarkably similar to how traditional TV and cable programming works…which raises the question of whether Netflix is looking to compete with networks with its new feature. But considering this new feature is still in its early testing stages in one country, and considering how Netflix has already disrupted the movie and TV industry as it is, it probably won’t be a major factor any time soon.

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