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Because its model is so entirely different than the other TV-watching models out there, Netflix has often been cagey regarding how it chooses content, why it puts new originals out when it does and how it markets those shows to its subscribers. However, recently the subscription streaming service revealed the average time it takes for a subscriber to decide whether or not to watch a show. It's a lot shorter of a timespan than you might guess. In fact, it's only 90 seconds.
In a blog post, Netflix's Nick Nelson shared some interesting insights about why Netflix chooses to advertise it's new programming with big, splashy images on your main screen and why certain images and text are chosen to promote those shows. Most of it stems back to the number we just gave you. If Netflix subscribers are forced to look around to figure out what they want to watch for more than 90 seconds, a good chunk of the time they will simply bail, deciding to hop to another streaming service, cable, or hell, maybe even read a book.
Even Netflix was surprised when they learned the amount of time the service really has to attract our attention before we move on to something else:
We were surprised by how much impact an image had on a member finding great content, and how little time we had to capture their interest.
So, Netflix started doing even more testing and found that one way to attract users to projects---even little known projects---was finding better images to use on the home page. Over time, the company learned that seeing images that convey emotion made people click more, as happened with this Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt promo for Season 2.
Netflix also found that using images that promote diversity and using images that focus on villains rather than heroes tended to do better with its subscribers. So, if you ever need to capture someone's attention on FB or Instagram, without a doubt, go with a villain shot. Finally, Netflix ultimately opted to say sayonara to all of those ensemble cast images for shows like Orange is the New Black, using one main character to promote each original show on the home page. In all of these ways, the service is shoving content in our faces and hoping that we'll click before the ninety second clock runs out. Because otherwise, there's just so much out there in the world of television that we can watch.
Check out what Netflix has coming up with our premiere schedule.