Netflix Is Testing Real-Time, Scheduled Programming In France

Very few entities disrupted real-time linear television more than Netflix. Well now, the streaming juggernaut will test a real-time channel of their own in France.

As reported by Variety the new linear channel will be named Direct, and will air French, international and U.S. feature films and TV shows from the streaming services library. The channel will be accessible only from the Netflix web browser, unlike the streaming service, which is found on set-top boxes.

Netflix said it is using France to test this new channel because of the nations “consumption of traditional TV ”. Adding that “many viewers like the idea of programming that doesn’t require them to choose what they are going to watch.”

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In the past Netflix tested a “Shuffle” button that would play random content the algorithm expected you would watch. That tool made individualized suggestions based on users watch history. By contrast Netflix Direct will show a fixed slate of programs to all viewers, like traditional TV.

Writing for Digital Trends Simon Cohen, pointed out that Netflix may not be trying to get into live TV as Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, or YouTube TV, and even Plex have, but that,

“[Direct is] the first real evidence we have that it’s willing to disrupt its own tried-and-true on-demand model, even if that means taking a page out of traditional TV’s playbook. And once those floodgates are open, you can bet we’ll start to see an increasing number of experiments as Netflix figures out how to contend with the onslaught of TV’s biggest players into the space that it single-handedly created.

The test channel soft launched on Nov. 5, and will become broadly available in France early in December, according to Variety.

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