Netflix Is Testing A Televised Streaming Channel

By Doug Norrie | 3 weeks ago

netflix feature

Netflix has never had any problem evolving its business model to the changing entertainment landscape. Remember, this is a company that started as a direct mail DVD rental company back in the late ’90s. But when those little silver discs were going the way of the Blockbuster dinosaur, it didn’t take long for them to get into the streaming game. Now, Netflix might be considering another new path, with news that they will launch a televised streaming channel

Netflix’s streaming subscriber count has continually climbed since 2011 when the new service launched. Those numbers don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon, with the pandemic seeing even more users tuned into the platform. But with more users come more service needs and demands. Netflix, with its new initiative, is testing whether viewers would want a more television-like experience than what we currently get on the binge-heavy platform. 

Launching in France, the new “channel” is Direct and will only be offered on Netflix’s web console. It will act like a regular television network does, with scheduled content broadcasting around the clock. Netflix’s goal is to attract viewers who don’t necessarily want to choose their programs but would rather sit down and watch whatever is on a programmed channel. In that way, it’s much more akin to what is expected from cable television. 

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Launching in France, the new “channel” is Direct and will only be offered on Netflix’s web console. It will act like a regular television network does, with scheduled content broadcasting around the clock. Netflix’s goal is to attract viewers who don’t necessarily want to choose their programs but would rather sit down and watch whatever is on a programmed channel. In that way, it’s much more akin to what is expected from cable television. 

With an ever-expanding lineup and an abundance of films and television shows to choose from, logging onto Netflix can often be an overwhelming experience with too much to choose from. Direct would “solve” some of that by taking the programming decisions out of the viewers’ hands while also introducing content someone may not have checked out otherwise. 

Direct clearly won’t have a hard time finding material to put on the air. Netflix has had another year of incredibly popular originals like Ratched, which was its most-streamed show, or Old Guard, which was as close we got to a summer blockbuster during the pandemic. Netflix continues to churn out hits that appeal to large audience demographics. 

netflix feature

The Direct test-trial in France will likely tell Netflix quite a bit about viewing habits and how to best optimize the experience for their users, with flexibility not afforded your typical cable television channel. As we’ve seen, Netflix continues to push forward new ideas around how we engage with content, without ever being married to the ideas of the past.

With a worldwide subscriber base of 167 million, Netflix has a large audience with varied tastes and different ways they like to watch their favorite programming. We know there are generations of people used to the “old way” of television programming, and with Netflix working to offer a variety of viewing preferences is just another example that Netflix is ahead of the curve in a way we still haven’t seen from other platforms. 

Netflix’s Direct will soft launch on November 5th with a full ramp-up in the month of December. How the French take to the channel could mean we see it in the States sooner than later. 

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