Using Netflix will not always involve scrolling through endless lists of movies served up by genre or because you watched one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer last summer. A Netflix executive says in the future, the streaming service may not throw hundreds of choices at people all at once.
During a keynote speech during an Internet Week event in New York, Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt said Netflix was going to focus on developing more personal recommendations to help alleviate the paradox of choice users feel when trying to sift through thousands of movies and TV shows. “You won’t see a grid and you won’t see a sea of titles,” Hunt said. The company could automatically serve users three or four viewing options based on their tastes. Still, Hunt said it was “somewhat unrealistic” to believe Netflix would ever deliver a completely linear, algorithm-driven experience, the way Pandora does with music.
Netflix has already been experimenting with more efficient recommendations. The company last year introduced Max, a recommendation assistant that serves users up a single movie after they answer a few questions about their mood. Netflix is also working to improve its recommendation algorithm to better tease out what emotional elements people like about certain shows instead of just offering suggestions based on genre or actor.
At TIME, we’re still hoping Netflix heeds our suggestion and allows for user-generated playlists of its content, so people can mix and match television episodes the same way they assemble mixtapes. Such a feature could yield lists that are actually useful.