Netflix Introduces Profiles
August 1, 2013

Netflix Introduces ‘Profiles’ For Users Sharing An Account

Enid Burns for - Your Universe Online

Netflix recently added the ability to set up to five profiles on user accounts to address the different viewing habits of family members sharing a single account. The new profiles will give individual family members the ability to maintain separate "Recently Watched" and "Instant Queue" lists, as well as get recommendations from both Netflix and friends on Facebook that make sense for the individual.

The new feature addresses the complaint that each family member has different tastes in programming. Parents can build their Queue with more mature movies and television shows, while kids can select age-appropriate programming without muddying their parents' profiles.

Those who don't share their Netflix account with five family members can set mood profiles. Users can combine family members to include a "couple" or "whole family" profile that groups movies for a date night or family movie night. Users can also set up a profile for action movies and another for romantic comedies. That way the latest rom-com won't pop up in the profile when a user is in the mood to watch the latest spy thriller or action flick with a big bowl of popcorn.

Netflix introduced its user profiles feature on its blog on Thursday. While early comments were mixed - a few users had trouble finding where to set up individual profiles - one user wondered if Netflix might allow users to put parental controls on accounts set up for children.

"Will it give us the ability to set allowable ratings and passwords on each profile or are they still refusing to make it difficult to keep the kids from watching adult content without crippling the adults ability to watch what they would like?" asked Scot Peterson, on the blog.

The new profiles feature has been a long time coming and was first announced in June as a "coming soon" feature. Almost two months later, Netflix has finally made the feature available.

Netflix's director of product innovation Eddy Wu told CNN Money that it's long been obvious to the company that a father wouldn't want to watch 'Dora the Explorer' simply because his two-year-old watched 'SpongeBob Squarpants.'"

It may have taken a while to come out with Profiles, because Netflix wanted to get the new tool right before introducing it to its roughly 30 million viewers. "Wu noted that Netflix had been toying with different ways to solve that problem, but the company was resistant to introduce a feature that added an extra step for users," CNN Money wrote.

Netflix eventually decided that offering individual profiles for families could be a fairly uncomplicated process that provided real value to its users. In fact, Profiles removes clutter and allows users to get right to the content they want. When testing the new feature, Netflix observed that subscribers actually watched more programming, Netflix's chief product officer Neil Hunt told USA Today.

The new Profiles feature goes even deeper at the individual level by allowing users to add their Facebook accounts to each Profile. That way Netflix can still connect users with their friends to provide recommendations. The connection with Facebook that lets friends make recommendations was added in March.