updated 11:47 am EDT, Wed June 12, 2013
Customized recommendations to apply to users, rather than entire account
Netflix will be adding separate user profiles to its accounts sometime this summer. The additional profiles will allow the streaming video service to keep a track record of what shows and films are viewed by individuals, rather than on the per-account basis it currently uses, in an effort to improve recommendations provided to its users.
Vice President of Product Innovation Todd Yellin confirmed the addition to Engadget at E3, suggesting that a husband and wife may have drastically different tastes in programming, and that user profiles on a family account would tailor suggestions further.
A demonstration of the new system on an iPad showed the profile choice appearing on-screen after launching the app, with user names and avatars appearing on separate icons. Profiles can be age locked to prevent unsuitable material being viewed by younger users, and can also restrict the profiles used by children to access only the Netflix Kids Hub, rather than the full catalog of shows.
While it was not revealed how many profiles can be assigned to an account, nor if Facebook integration will apply to accounts or user profiles, the limit of two simultaneous streams will still apply. It is also not clear if the profile-enabled version of the app will appear on iOS initially before being rolled out to other platforms, or if it will be turned on for all versions of the app at the same time.