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Netflix is testing old school broadcast TV schedules in France

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One of the benefits of streaming services outside of the vast library of films and series is that you can decide when, what, and how much to watch. While TV networks used to schedule a line-up of shows and movies that viewers had to schedule their lives around if they wanted to watch them, streaming services allowed us to have far more flexibility.

Apparently this is not something that everyone likes, as all this choice has ruined the otherwise brain-dead activity of sitting in front of a television and just watching whatever is on. Netflix is apparently aware of this and is testing a new linear channel in France according to a new Variety report. This news comes after the company also recently began experimenting with a “Play Something” button too.

The new channel, called Netflix Direct, will be available to Netflix streaming subscribers and will provide content from its existing library in a linear format with scheduled times, much the same way that broadcast television does. Netflix says this will help viewers to just relax and not worry about any form of decision fatigue:

Maybe you’re not in the mood to decide, or you’re new and finding your way around, or you just want to be surprised by something new and different

It seems almost bizarre in this age of streaming services to even consider regressing back to regular broadcast TV habits. Though if you consider that our own local DStv service (owned by MultiChoice) still offers over a hundred channels like this and somehow can still convince people to pay more than R1000 per month to watch them, there is definitely a market for them. And it’s not just SA, as the reason for Netflix choosing France as the test country for this particular experiment is because broadcast television is incredibly popular in that country. Possibly also a reason why French company Groupe Canal+ has recently bought a massive stake in MultiChoice.

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same and while the freedom to stream anything you want is still compelling, so is the need to just sit and watch TV without needing to think at all.

Last Updated: November 9, 2020

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