Netflix testing personalized profiles for adults and kids


The video-streaming platform Netflix will make it easier for families to share a subscription. (Jin Lee/BLOOMBERG)
January 8, 2013

If you’ve ever shared a Netflix account with a parent or kid, you’re already familiar with the woes of the platform’s one-size-fits-all system. Now Netflix is trying to get those cartoons and old-time classics out of your queue.

GigaOm reports the site is testing personalized profiles at the Consumer Electronics Show, which will let each member of your family watch movies separately and will give parents the power to restrict the ratings of the shows their children see.

The move isn’t exactly unexpected — since 2011, Netflix has offered a special “Just for Kids” vertical that lets children search for movies by character and theme. (“Princesses” and “superheroes” rank among the more popular choices.)

A number of other platforms have also become more family-friendly in recent months. Barnes & Noble’s Nook Profiles, introduced in November, let as many as six people customize settings on the device. The latest Kindles also include a profile option for multiple users and a parental-control feature called “FreeTime,” which lets parents choose what type of content their kids see and how much time they spend with it.

These types of profiles come in response to the tidal wave of young children who now use tablets, smartphones and Internet-connected TVs. According to a 2011 study by Common Sense Media, nearly a third of all parents have downloaded apps for their young children to use.

At Netflix, the numbers are even more striking: In 2011, the company said that half of its 25 million North American members had watched at least two kids’ shows in the past 90 days. The real question, then, is why it didn’t launch profiles sooner; GigaOm reports the feature will roll out within six months.

Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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