We all know that Netflix is designed to keep you watching. Once you start the newest season of your favorite show, Netflix makes sure to do everything in its power to keep your eyes glued to the screen.
YouTuber Thomas Flight did some digging and figured out exactly what techniques Netflix uses to keep you hooked. Their main strategy? To create a personalized menu screen that shows you what you want to see, before you even know yourself.
The idea is to make you, the viewer, feel like the whole Netflix universe revolves around you.
That's how long Netflix says viewers will spend on the homepage before they get bored and do something else. That's how long Netflix has to hook you in with a show that you actually want to watch. That's why they design their website to be so good at pulling you in.
First, Netflix has to figure out exactly what you want to watch so it can put it right in front of you. To do this, the streaming service tracks every viewing decision you make - from which shows you click on, to how you long you watch them for, to how likely you are to watch more movies with the same actors in them.
According to Flight, once Netflix has figured out exactly how YOU specifically watch their content, they change your homepage so that it's perfect for YOU.
Did you think the "Trending Now" tab was the same for everyone? Well check this out:
Flight, his brother, and his sister all took a screenshot of their "Trending Now" tabs at the exact same time, on the same day.
That's right. The "most popular" shows on Netflix change depending on who is browsing through them.
Okay, now here's where things get interesting. You know those little thumbnail images that Netflix uses for everything in their library?
Those images are also designed especially for YOU. Netflix has a whole bunch of different images for each show, like Stranger Things, below, and it decides which one to give you based on who you are and what you like.
Netflix figures out which thumbnail to show you by going back and looking at your viewing history. For example, let's say Netflix thinks you want to watch the movie Pulp Fiction, which stars John Travolta and Uma Thurman.
If you've watched a lot of movies starring John Travolta, it will show you the Pulp Fiction thumbnail with him in it.
If you've watched a lot of movies starring Uma Thurman, it will show you the Pulp Fiction thumbnail with her in it.
These are only a couple of the techniques Netflix uses to get inside your head.
As Flight says, Netflix is getting SO good at doing this, people are actually starting to cancel their memberships because they are spending too much time watching movies and TV shows.
In fact, research shows that people who watch too much TV may be twice as likely to die prematurely, so there could be serious health risks to binge-watching.
So is Netflix doing us all a favor by showing us exactly what we want to see?
Or is the streaming service putting all of our lives at risk by keeping us addicted?