View Finder: Netflix loves personalised TV schedules

Nick Broughall 26 May 2017 NEWS

Netflix Time

Plus The Get Down gets gone, and get ready for a price bump for your streaming service.

The fifth season of House of Cards is almost upon us, and in the lead up Netflix has released a bit of info about viewing habits of streamers from around the world. In the four years since the first series of the political drama dropped en masse, the shift to binge watching shows has become massively popular.

But beyond that, Netflix has found that there are definite trends around genre viewing that differ substantially by different regions. For example, in Australia and New Zealand, kids programming like H20: Just Add Water, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Glitter Force and Aussie classic Around The Twist all experience their highest viewing period between 5 and 6am.

The insights come from analysing viewing trends from over 77 million customers over a six month period, which also found that peak viewing time varies dramatically depending on the country. India, for example, hits peak viewership at 5pm, while Australia really gets going at 9pm.

These insights are particularly interesting when contrasted against the traditional linear programming schedule of free-to-air TV. One of the most appealing elements of Netflix and streaming video in general is that it is "on demand", and doesn't find itself subject to the whims of ratings demands, where your favourite show will be bumped around the program guide depending on how it performs for advertisers.

The truth is that we probably haven't changed our viewing habits too much – kids watch TV early before school, adults watch thrilling drama in the evenings and have a laugh before they fall asleep – but having the freedom to do it to suit your own needs sees the times things happen shift to suit our modern lifestyles.

And the impact is only going to grow as more people latch on to the on demand aspect of Netflix streaming.

The Get Gone

While Netflix may be changing the viewing habits of streamers around the world, it turns out that it's also becoming slightly more selective with the millions of dollars its throwing at original programming.

After opting to not renew its original Marco Polo series for a third season late last year, the company has this week made an even bigger cut with its programming axe, deciding not to renew Baz Luhrmann's The Get Down for a second season.

There's no clear justification for the axing, though Luhrmann himself believes it's because of his inability to commit full time to the show. The first season suffered from a series of delays that ended up seeing the show split into two halves, launching first in August last year and finishing in April.

And that break up doesn't really fit with the Netflix binge everything mentality that has changed programming habits though, does it?

Stan trials premium price tiers

A few weeks back Netflix trialled a price increase in Australia over the weekend, testing the waters to see if Australians would cough up a couple of extra bucks to sign up to its streaming platform. While nothing has changed since then, this week Stan has tried a similar tactic, with the AFR reporting that Stan tried changing up its streaming tiers.

Currently, Stan has two price tiers: The standard $10 a month service with HD streams and offline viewing, and the premium $15 service which boosts the number of concurrent devices and adds 4K streaming for certain programs. According to the AFR report, the new structure the streaming service was testing dropped the quality of the entry tier to standard definition, and added a standard tier for HD streams between $12-$13 a month.

That 3 tier pricing structure is pretty much in line with Netflix's current offering, and by charging an extra couple of bucks every month for what is essentially the $10 plan now, Stan would be able to invest further in the original content department.

Of course, it's not like this pricing structure is a definite thing just yet, but given that Stan is experimenting with the idea, it doesn't seem too far fetched to expect an announcement in the not too distant future. Given the quality of the service and content you get for your money, I personally wouldn't begrudge paying an extra few dollars, but we'll see if general consensus agrees with me.

Trailer of the week: We're all dying up here

While Stan has been all Twin Peaks all the time, there's also the soon to launch stand-up comedy series I'm Dying Up Here from EP Jim Carrey. I'm keen to see where this one goes when it launches next month.

I really enjoyed the first season of Netflix's Flaked, but I really did't expect to see a second season. This trailer shows makes me happy to be wrong.



Each week, View Finder rounds up the latest news in TV and movie streaming in Australia.

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