The beauty of Netflix is that you can watch anything anytime you want, but what if you don’t feel like making a decision? That’s the idea behind Direct, a new linear-style channel that Netflix is testing in France, as seen by Frandroid. When you click on the new Direct link in the menu, you’ll get a pre-programmed feed of popular films, series and documentaries. You can then watch it in real time just like a regular TV channel, without even the ability to rewind.
France is one of Netflix’s most important markets with 9 million subscribers, but people are still attached to regular programming. “Traditional TV consumption is very popular in France,” Netflix said in a news release. “Many viewers like to avoid choosing what to watch.” (Living in France, I can confirm this.)
Netflix also wants introduce folks to new shows they might not otherwise watch. “If you’re lacking inspiration or using Netflix for the first time, you can let yourself be carried away without having to choose a particular title, and be surprised by the diversity of the Netflix catalog,” Netflix wrote.
When you choose Direct, Netflix will show you what’s coming with a 24-hour grid of programmed shows and times. Programming is regenerated automatically over a five day period and is based on what’s popular on the platform as a whole, not your personal tastes.
The feature is only available on the web version of Netflix for now, and not on any of the apps on streaming devices, TVs or cable boxes. It started rolling out yesterday and should be available around France early next month (I don’t have it yet). Netflix hasn’t said yet whether Direct will appear in other markets.
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