Netflix is Testing Out an Instagram-Style News Feed

Netflix must be getting desperate. As the impending doom of the Disney+ release looms in the near future, the big red streaming giant is doing all it can to try to keep its lead on the rest of the market. In the world of streaming, through, content is king. Are Netflix’s original series and films enough to go to bat against Disney franchises, Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Pixar? Maybe Netflix will try and skirt the content wars altogether and find different ways of keeping subscriptions. Case in point: this week Netflix rolled out a new Instagram-style news feed to promote its series and films. Is this what subscribers want?

For now, the new Netflix feed is limited to its mobile app and is being tested on a small set of subscribers. Netflix is calling the news feed “Extras” and the feature remains experimental for now, meaning it may end up on the cutting room floor like that bizarre  Qwikster name change debacle of 2011. “We are testing a feed of video extras in our mobile app to help fans connect more deeply with the titles they love and discover new ones to watch. These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, and may not become permanent,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety.

Screenshots of the new Extras news feed feature show full-screen promo shots or autoplay videos from Netflix films and Netflix original series along with a brief synopsis and a release date if that content is not yet available for streaming. Luckily, autoplay videos do not have sound.

The Extras feature replaces the “Coming Soon” icon that users apparently aren’t using enough. Netflix has been testing other social media-inspired features in recent months, such as a Snapchat-inspired video preview window and the ability to share what you’re watching across various social media platforms.

Again, I just have to wonder: is this really what subscribers want? Or do they want more breakout hits like Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black? I’ll admit: I’m a longtime Netflix subscriber but the amount of time I spend watching has waned in recent years as other streaming services have stepped up their own top-shelf original offerings. Will social media connectivity and new ways of discovering new content be enough for Netflix to keep subscribers happy?

Not this subscriber.