Netflix Further Experimenting With Episode Order In Test Randomizing ‘The Office,’ Our Planet,’ More

By 04/19/2019
Netflix Further Experimenting With Episode Order In Test Randomizing ‘The Office,’ Our Planet,’ More

If you’ve ever wanted a shuffle option for TV the way you have a shuffle option for music, Netflix has you covered.

Or, at least, it’s testing having you covered. The streamer is trying out a feature for its Android mobile app called “Play a Popular Episode.” The feature, as you’ve probably guessed, plays a random and presumably oft-watched episode of certain TV series. A screencap grabbed by Mashable shows programs involved in the test include half-hour comedy series The OfficeArrested Development, and New Girl, as well as nature documentary series Our Planet. All three shows feature mostly self-contained episodes that can generally be watched out of order without affecting viewers’ ability to follow what’s going on.

“We are testing the ability for members to play a random episode from different TV series on the Android mobile app,” a Netflix spokesperson told Mashable. “These tests typically vary in length of time and by region, and may not become permanent.”


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The spokesperson would not comment on whether the randomized option would apply only to certain shows. However, The Verge discovered that users looped into the test will not only see the “Play a Popular Episode” column on the app’s main screen, but will also see a “Random Episode” option in the playback controls of certain series. The option only appears after a user has started watching the series.

This isn’t the first time Netflix has experimented with episode order. Its recently-released sci-fi anthology series Love, Death & Robots, which comprises 18 unconnected short films, was rolled out to users last month with four different episode arrangements. Whether a user got order A, B, C, or D was totally randomized.

“We want to showcase the variety of shorts within the anthology series in different ways, and see what works for our members,” a Netflix spokesperson said at the time.

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