Netflix is testing a feature allowing viewers to choose a video at random.
The new feature was first discovered by Android Police and was ultimately confirmed by Netflix in a statement made to The Hollywood Reporter. The Random Episode button is currently available for only some of the 149 million global users of the platform, but that could change based on how well the new feature works.
"We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series on the Android mobile app," read the statement to THR. "These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, and may not become permanent."
Netflix offers viewers suggestions based off what they've watched previously. Although this is helpful in providing viewing material from across similar categories, it may not help those viewers with eclectic tastes or the desire to diversify what they consume. This new feature somewhat harkens back to more conventional ways of watching television in which what shows one could watch were dictated by the network's schedule. This had much less flexibility of viewership for the audience, but it also allowed for the viewer to stumble across a new show, or even a less recent show, that might not have normally seen.
This is not the first time Netflix has made changes to how customers consume media. The streaming service, similar to most social networking platforms, was asking viewers to be active participants by rating the content they were watching. Initially, Netflix allowed viewers to leave comments that were between 80 and 1,999 characters. By July 30, 2018, Netflix stopped accepting user reviews and then deleted all of those user-generated reviews a month later. Users could also rate shows and movies using a 5-star system, but that was phased out and replaced with a simpler thumbs up/thumbs down method.
This feature would be in addition to the weekly top 10 category the streaming service will start testing in the United Kingdom in the second quarter of 2019.