Saturday , October 1 2022

A new Category Hub will put personalized recommendations first

Netflix will start highlighting more of your favorite genres and categories

Netflix is giving its TV interface a small refresh, refashioning its old row of categories into a “Category Hub” menu on the left rail that highlights genre recommendations tailored to your viewing habits.

Although Netflix’s UI often seems to change every time you load it, the Categories menu generally appeared below the Popular, Trending, and Continue Watching rows. As well as listing basic genres like comedy, action, horror, and so on, it also highlights collections based on the odd holiday (like Earth Day). Now, instead of just listing these categories in the same order for everyone, the top three choices will be customized to individual users.

Netflix’s old Category row. Now these sections are a part of the hub menu that you can select from the left rail.

Netflix’s old Category row. Now these sections are a part of the hub menu that you can select from the left rail.
Image: Netflix

It’s not clear, though, how specific Netflix is going to get with its recommendations — which is a bit of a shame. You may not be aware, but Netflix categorizes its content using thousands of incredibly granular “genres,” from “Critically-acclaimed Goofy Movies from the 1980s” to “Raunchy Slasher and Serial Killer Movies” and “War Movies for ages 8 to 10.”

The company uses these categories to recommend new content, but you can also load them manually if you like. However, based on the press release and images Netflix is sharing about its new Category Hub, it’s keeping its recommendations fairly broad and basic, and your experience of scrolling through the app’s usual rows will otherwise remain the same.

In my opinion, that’s cowardice! If Netflix knows I have a deep and abiding love for “20th Century Period Pieces for Hopeless Romantics” then why not tell me about it! Sure, it may not stem the company’s declining subscriber numbers, but it would be a little fun, at least.

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