Thursday, August 1, 2013

Netflix Launches Profiles, So Should Others

Netflix has finally realized what many other subscription companies have not, that we share our accounts.  Families share their Netflix account just as we share our cable service and DVR usage, our iTunes account, our Amazon account, and other subscriptions.  And because we share, our viewing habits look like one big aggregated experience, hard to decipher. 

Well Netflix has uncovered an easy solution.  "In an attempt to fix this, Netflix today begins rolling out profiles, a free feature that allows any of the company's 37 million subscribers to create up to five different profiles on one account. Each profile will be treated like its own account, so recommendations will be more aligned with a single person's interests." Now a parents more mature interests won't be linked to their children.  That means a better, more accurate understanding of each family members' viewing interests. 

Amazon should steal this idea ASAP.  Not just for their Amazon prime feature but for their other business as well.  My wife and I each keep a different Amazon account just so our children who each receive gift cards can know who has what balance.  An account for each kid under each of our names.  How nice it would be if I could keep separate balances for each child under one master account.  And how much better Amazon could be for using this same profile engine to make better recommendations. 

So congratulations to Netflix for putting real world application to their subscription model.  I'm confident it will be quickly copied. 

Facebook says Time For This Commercial Break

How many times do you check your Facebook page?  How many devices do you use, your phone your tablet, your computer, or perhaps all three?  And how would you like your social network experience to be interrupted by a commercial message.  Facebook will try and find out by offering short form commercials as you access their site.  Although the commercial length is scheduled to be 15 seconds, acceptance of this interruption could lead to longer spots, or perhaps more than one ad. 

While it is not clear how the spot is pitched, it could come over in the top of their News Feed or worse be shown as an overlay that can't be removed till after the ad fully runs.  Facebook plans to only run ads a maximum of three times per user per day.  Whether that is dependent on the device used may also make a difference.  Three ads per three different devices could mean that a user is subjected to an ad nine times per day, each time they check in.  How consumers react to such intrusion will have to be monitored by Facebook. 

Will consumers get so upset by this influx of advertising that they drop Facebook for other social networks or do they put up and shut up?  I suspect we are so deeply rooted in our Facebook connection that users will prefer the latter.  And that is partly what Facebook hopes, too. Video advertising revenue could be the secret sauce that propels the earnings and ultimately the stock price of Facebook to higher levels.  That is, unless users actually rebel and disconnect from the service.