Netflix Gets Personal with ‘Profiles’

Netflix’s recommendations engine is a great tool to help subscribers sift through its massive streaming video library, but it’s less helpful when the engine is spitting out results that mix in the viewing habits of the adults as well as the kiddos.

To remedy that, Netflix has launched “Profiles,” a feature that lets each member of a subscriber household receive individualized recommendations. Each account can have up to five profiles. It’s a free feature baked into the basic subscription price.

"We continually innovate and are proud to deliver an even better, more personal Netflix experience," said Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt, in a statement.  "Now everyone in your home can have their own Netflix experience, built around the TV shows and movies they enjoy. No longer will your Netflix suggestions be mixed up with those of your kids, a significant other, roommates, or house guests."

Netflix said the feature is rolling out globally today, and will be offered to all members within two weeks.

New subs can access profiles for each member of their family during the sign-on process, while existing subs can create additional profiles at any time via the Netflix Web site or via the Playstation 3.

Netflix currently supports Profiles on the Web, the PS3, Xbox 360, iPad, iPhone, Apple TV and “most smart TVs.” More devices will be added to the mix in the coming months, Netflix said.

The trend toward more personalized profiles is not lost on the cable industry. Cox, for example, has introduced a feature for its Trio guide in advanced set-top boxes that lets subscribers create up to eight individual profiles. It’s in the process of extending that feature to an iPad app internally called the Personal Video Experience.