People still rely on other people more than algorithms to find TV shows to watch

Things haven’t changed so much.
Things haven’t changed so much.
Image: AP Photo, File
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Streaming-video platforms like Netflix and Amazon pride themselves on algorithms that deliver personalized recommendations for TV shows and movies to watch. Netflix, for example, is constantly tweaking its recommendation engine to draw on subtle patterns in a user’s viewing behavior, similarities between viewers around the world, and to test what imagery most piques their interest most.

A new survey found that more US audiences relied on other people to find TV shows than platforms. When asked how they discovered new TV shows while online, only 16% of respondents said through a home-screen recommendation on a platform like Netflix, according to the Global Television Demand Report (download pdf) of TV-measurement firm Parrot Analytics. More respondents said they relied on word of mouth, social media, or browsing on blogs and publications.

The findings were similar in the other 10 markets Parrot polled, including the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, and Japan. Online browsing was the most popular way to discover shows online in Germany and Japan.

Recommendations on platforms like Netflix were the most common way of finding new series among people in Mexico and Brazil. Latin America has been a key growth area for subscription-video platforms.

Offline, word of mouth was the most common method of finding TV shows in most of the markets polled, Parrot found.

The firm conducted two separate online surveys about online and offline content discovery in 10 different markets, each with 500 respondents, in December 2017.