Netflix tests biggest redesign of TV app in 10 years in latest move to keep you glued

Netflix started rolling out the first major revamp of its television app in a decade on Thursday, testing changes designed to help viewers more quickly decide what they want to watch.

The video streaming pioneer revised the home page by enlarging title cards, reorganizing information and highlighting easy-to-read tidbits such as a show or movie “spent 8 weeks in the top 10.”

Among other tweaks to the TV app, the menu button was moved from the left to the top of the screen and a new “My Netflix” tab was added, with shows or movies a user has started watching, or ones saved to check out later.

Company research showed users were performing what Netflix executive Pat Flemming called “eye gymnastics,” or looking around to various parts of the Netflix home screen, when trying to find a title that interested them.

Viewers’ eyes were darting around from “the row name to today’s top picks, to the box art, to the video, back to the synopsis,” Flemming, senior director of member product, told Reuters in an interview.

“We really wanted to make that simpler, more intuitive, everything easier to navigate.”

The changes — which were made available to a subset of Netflix’s nearly 270 million users around the globe — come as Netflix wants to increase the time that viewers spend on the app to help retain customers and draw subscribers to its new, lower cost plans with advertising.

The company will take feedback, and possibly make changes, before unveiling it more widely.

Netflix has been emphasizing engagement time as a key metric, telling investors it is the “best proxy for customer satisfaction.”

The company will stop regular reporting of subscriber numbers next year to shift Wall Street’s focus.

Netflix will continue to offer personalized suggestions to each user.

It is not making any changes to its recommendation algorithm as part of the redesign, Flemming said.