Why Netflix Changed the Instant Watch Layout



Update: Since this article was written, Netflix has increased membership prices.

Netflix recently announced the biggest Instant Watch layout change for all Instant Watchers. This change has caused the 2nd biggest anger and uproar among Netflix fans in Netflix’s history, more of which I’ll share below. Over 2000 Netflix blog readers have protested against the change.

The new Netflix interface is in my view very beautiful. It also, however, changes a lot of navigation features that seem to have every Netflix user talking about it. While you can make up your own mind as to whether or not you like it, it is very important to understand why Netflix made these changes. When you realize the reason behind these changes, you can get kind of a good glimpse of where Netflix is headed or where it wants to go.

Here are 3 main reasons, of the many other reasons, why Netflix changed its previous Instant Watch layout into a bold new one.

3 Main Reasons Netflix Changed Instant Watch Layout

New Netflix Layout - more focus on Visuals and Streaming New Netflix Layout – more focus on Visuals and Streaming. Check the bigger view.

  1. This is the future of Netflix. Netflix wants to be the premiere online movie streaming company. In order to move away from the DVD mailing business, it has to slowly phase out any extra attention it gives to DVD queues from its site. This means giving extra attention to the streaming part. That is why every big movie icon on the site, when clicked on, will instantly play the movie instead of the previous behavior of showing you the movie details page with reviews. This was first evident in January when Netflix removed the “Add to DVD Queue” button from streaming devices like PlayStation or the Wii. The faster and more easily you can watch a movie online and enjoy the experience, the less likely you’ll be to wait for that DVD to come in the red envelope. Netflix is betting on this big change to move toward total DVD elimination.
  2. The aim is to make Netflix more attractive and more of a media center for the new social age. Netflix wants you to go to the site and start watching movies. By making the actual movie watching as easy as clicking only once after you arrive at the Netflix website, Netflix wants to decrease the number of steps between users and instant watches. This builds satisfaction in the long run because of the lesser number of clicks required to play a movie. The simpler the Netflix interface, the more powerful brand loyalty it can build to compete with Amazon Instant Video and other competitors.
  3. Thousands of people still complain today about the deceased Friends feature by changing their reviews on NetflixHundreds of Netflix users still complain about the deceased Friends feature by changing their reviews. Check out the bigger version. This example is from the Aces Netflix user.

    Netflix priority is movie streaming instead of community interaction. There is nothing wrong with that philosophy because of the very nature of the business. With the new layout, you have to spend less time playing a movie. It comes at the expense of community – you now have to hold your mouse over a movie to be able to rate it or click its title to see member reviews and other details. Netflix infamously removed the Friends feature from Netflix to the surprise of thousands of crying Netflix users who to this day continue to leave comments on Netflix website asking for its return [which Netflix has started to reconsider due to the immense popularity of Twitter and Facebook]. This is another step to focus on streaming and keep the community aspect around in a different format when it comes to streaming.

Not everyone is hating the new Netflix Layout

Many people actually like the layout. Katie loves it, while I like it minus the slow scrolling. In addition to users hating the design, here are 2 other types of Netflix users [among the many more on Twitter] who like the design or are still debating.

JoCoWash likes the new Netflix design

JoCoWash likes the new Netflix design

Angela is still deciding if she hates or likes the new Netflix design.

Angela is still deciding if she hates or likes the new Netflix design.

What do you think of the changes?

What do you think of the new Netflix layout? Do you like or hate it? Does it bother you in any manner? Do the above reasons, in your view, justify the changes?

I now have to go back to continue watching my Netflix movie. Can you guess what it is? [hint: it's in the first picture].

Share what you think about the new layout and the reasons [or what movie I'm watching] in the comments below, thanks!

Update: Since this article was written, Netflix has increased membership prices.