Netflix Phone

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Talk about gone in 60 seconds. Also, you're welcome for that Nicolas Cage reference from 2000, everyone.

Netflix knows exactly how long it has to find a user the movie or TV show they want to watch before they give up completely and shut it down to move on to something else, like a video game or basic cable. Or even…gulp…a book!

In a study published in the journal ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems, Netflix found that if a user doesn't find something to watch within the first 60 or 90 seconds, they are very likely to abandon their binge-watching effort. Basically, we're all sitting in front of our computer, TV, iPad like this:

Parks and Rec, Tom, I want it now GIF


Netflix discovered that an average user would look at 10 to 20 titles on one or two screens. If they don't find what they're looking for, they're gone.

"The user either finds something of interest or the risk of the user abandoning our service increases substantially," Netflix's Neil Hunt and Carlos Gomez-Uribe wrote in the study. Obviously, this research was geared toward people who browse and flip through Netflix's categories and recommendations on a regular basis, instead of those who cycle between rewatching Parks and Recreation and rewatching Friends. (We are in the latter category, BTW). 

Why did Netflix want to find out how quickly subscribers give up? So they can create a better system for recommending titles to get users watching the stuff they want quicker, of course.

"The personalized recommendations we offer members are central to the Netflix experience, helping people find something great to watch quickly and easily," Gomez-Uribe wrote in a blog post. "After an entire year, efforts from dozens of teams across the company, and intensive research, we developed and deployed a global recommendation system that will benefit Netflix members across the world."

So next time you fire up Netflix, take a break from One Tree Hill and cruise on through your recommendations. After all, Netflix conducted an actual scientific study to try and please you. When is the last time a book did that for you?!*

*We're kidding; We love books, please don't ever leave us

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