Netflix may soon have a feature for those who are feeling a bit indecisive, or for certain viewers who are just feeling adventurous. The streaming service is currently testing out a new "shuffle" feature which will allow subscribers to click a "random episode" button for certain, popular shows. So, instead of watching a show in order, this allows for some totally random chaos to be thrown into the mix. A spokesperson for the company had this to say about it.
"We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series on the Android mobile app. These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, and may not become permanent."
So far, the feature is being tested out with shows such as The Office, New Girl, Our Planet and Arrested Development. It's currently available for a number of users on the Android mobile app only. It's also important to note that this is being tested with a select number of users and, as the statement from Netflix notes, may not ever actually make it to market as a wide-release feature on future versions of the app across various platforms.
For certain shows like The Office, which many subscribers watch as repeat viewing, a shuffle feature, or just playing a random, popular episode, makes some sense. Streaming services have made everything very convenient and offer consumers unprecedented levels of choice. But in some cases, all of that choice can feel burdensome. Like when one just wants to let something random on screen hit them in the face like the old days of cable TV, when control was much more limited. Netflix vice president of product Todd Yellin recently suggested a feature like this may be rolled out during a recent press conference.
"How about anthologies? How about something like Chef's Table? You don't have to watch it in the order that we tell you to."
Whether or not this turns out to be a popular feature, if it's even rolled out, may be a bit beside the point. With Disney+, Apple+, WarnerMedia's untitled streaming service and a host of other services set to hit the market soon, the streaming wars have truly begun. Consumers are going to have a bevy of options and limited money to go around. As such, Netflix is going to have to innovate in order to stay on top.
For now at least, they have a tremendous lead over the competition. Netflix currently has just shy of 150 million subscribers worldwide, making them far and away the most popular streaming service on the market. But again, the competition is going to become much more fierce over the next year or so. Maybe innovations like this random episode button will help. Maybe people will hate it. Either way, they're not just content to rest on their laurels. This news was previously reported by Variety.