Wednesday, July 24, 2024
InícioUSER RESEARCHReintroducing comment sections to Netflix— a product strategy

Reintroducing comment sections to Netflix— a product strategy

Did you know Netflix actually used to have comments?

I saw a post on Threads about how nice it would be if Netflix has comment sections. Over 8,000 people were interested, so I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to explore my product strategy skills.

This discussion got me thinking: how could a Netflix comment section work today? Would you use a Netflix comment section? Why or why not?

Visual designed by Karena Iyakoregha.

Since Netflix apparently had comments in the past, here’s a look at how they might reintroduce them:

What it would look like:

Threaded discussions: Replies and follow-up comments would be organized for clear conversation flow.Spoiler protection: Comments could be hidden until viewers reach a certain point in the show or movie.Integration with profiles: Comments could be tailored to user preferences and avoid irrelevant suggestions.Time-synced Comments: For shows and movies, allow users to post comments tied to specific moments. This would facilitate discussions about particular scenes or plot points.

About me

I’m a product designer with over 5 years of experience. Recently, I’ve been diving headfirst into product management strategy, and I’m thrilled to share my learnings through the lens of Netflix comments.

The Challenge: Imagine a world where Netflix reintroduces comment sections! I’ve been exploring the “why” and “how” of this potential feature, keeping Netflix’s core goals in mind.

Here’s what I explored:

The benefits of bringing back comments: I identified a few key reasons why this could be a positive change for Netflix users (Unique value Preposition).Aligning with Netflix’s goals: I refined the product vision to ensure it supports Netflix’s core objectives.Implementation frameworks: I proposed different frameworks for integrating comments seamlessly into the platform.

A product strategy is a clear roadmap that ensures a product or feature is built for the right reasons, solves the right problems, and stands out from the crowd. This strategy will balance the potential benefits that a comment section provides to both users and the business (Netflix) with the challenges of maintaining a positive and productive platform.

Current Product Overview

Netflix is a leading subscription-based streaming service offering a vast library of TV Shows, Movies Documentaries, Anime and Content for Kids. Netflix is available in almost every country worldwide, offering content in multiple languages.

Key Features

Subscription Model:Different subscription plansOffline ViewingPersonalised Recommendations: Netflix uses algorithms to suggest content based on a user’s viewing history and preferencesMultiple Device Compatibility: Users can access Netflix on a wide range of devices, including TVs, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and streaming devices.

Netflix (Refined) Product Vision and Goals

To be the world’s leading platform for delivering innovative and exceptional entertainment experiences that delight our global audience.

Increase User engagement & satisfaction: Create a space for discussion and community around content, leading to users spending more time on Netflix. This will also Foster a sense of community and belonging, allowing users to discuss and engage with content directly on the platform.Boosted Streaming Time: Reduce content discovery time by providing immediate access to reviews and opinions, aiding decision-making and encouraging longer viewing sessions.Enhance content discovery: Allow viewers to discover shows and movies based on positive comments and recommendations.

Target users (How do user feel about a comment section)

In reference to the image below: While users are excited about the prospect of Netflix introducing comment sections to the platforms, concerns regarding spoilers and maintaining a positive community exist.

UI design of comments from Netflix users on Threads sharing different opinions on the possibility of a Netflix comment section.

Market Trends and User behaviour

Current market trends act as clues to understanding how these data trends might influence Netflix users. By analyzing these trends, we can formulate hypotheses that explain user behavior and guide future decisions. Market trends higlighted below are the most important trends to consider

Personalisation and Content Discovery

Advanced Recommendation Algorithms: Leverage AI and machine learning to personalise content recommendations beyond simple watch history. Consider factors like mood, time of day, trending topics, and social media activity.Interactive recommendations: Allow users to refine recommendations by providing feedback on past suggestions or indicating their preferred genres/directors/actors.Social Recommendation Layers: Integrate recommendations from friends or contacts with similar viewing tastes.Curated Playlists & Collections: Offer pre-made playlists or thematic collections based on genre, mood, or occasion to simplify content discovery.

Community Building and Interactive Content Experiences

Interactive Comment Sections: Develop comment sections with features like time-synced comments, spoiler warnings, and gamification elements to encourage discussion.Social Viewing Features: Facilitate co-watching experiences with friends and family, even when watching remotely with options for chat or shared reactions.Interactive Fan Communities: Create dedicated spaces for fans of specific shows/movies to connect, share theories, and interact with creators.Interactive storytelling: Explore branching narratives where viewers can make choices that impact the story’s direction (think “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch”).

Expanding Content Formats

Focus on Short-Form Content: Cater to viewers with short attention spans by offering bite-sized content like short films, trailers, or social media-style clips.Interactive Games: Integrate interactive games within the platform, potentially based on popular shows or movies.

In light of current market trends and user optimism, let’s explore the potential implementation of a comment section feature on Netflix, how it would work and what strategies Netflix would have to put in to minimise toxicity, negativity, and misinformation.

Unique Value Proposition of a Comment section

The goal is to potentially improve user experience, overall satisfaction and to potentially improve time to content discovery for users. Benefits of a comment section include;

Integrated and seamless experience: Comments are accessible within the Netflix platform, avoiding the need to switch apps or websites.

Improved Content Discovery and Aid decision-making when choosing content: Positive comments can highlight hidden gems within the vast Netflix library, while negative comments might pique curiosity and encourage viewers to form their own opinions. People naturally gravitate towards content with positive user feedback. Comments, both positive and negative, can influence viewers by sparking their interest or providing a different perspective.

Enhanced User Engagement (Building a Netflix Community): A comment section fosters a sense of community, allowing users to share opinions, discuss plot points, and recommend content. This can lead to longer watch times and increased user satisfaction.

Valuable User Feedback: Netflix could gain valuable insights into user preferences and content reception through comment analysis. This can inform future content acquisition and production/product strategies.

Benefits to Users

Enhanced Engagement: A comment section fosters a sense of community, allowing users to share insights, reactions, and discussions around their favourite shows and movies.Improved Discoverability: User comments can highlight hidden gems or provide warnings about less-than-stellar content, aiding others in navigating the vast Netflix library.Personalized Recommendations: By analyzing user interactions within the comment section, Netflix can refine its recommendation algorithms to better tailor content suggestions.

Proposed strategy for Netflix comment section

To ensure that the Netflix comment section serves its purpose for viewers, filmmakers, script writers and the platform itself, I propose the following strategies:

User Preferences and Control

Comment Settings: Users can personalise their comment experience by controlling when they see comments (before, during, after, or always).Comment grouping and Tags: Users can categorise comments as positive reviews, spoilers (plot points, unexpected twists) or general discussions to ensure that comments are displayed under the right categories.Comment Visibility: Users can turn comments on/off or hide comments for specific movies or episodes. Enable users to disable comments entirely for a distraction-free viewing experience.Spoiler Settings: Users can choose the level of spoiler they want to see (general, plot points, unexpected twists).Comment History: Users should be able to access their past comments.

Community building Guidelines

Comment Relevance: All comments must be related to a movie/show being watched.Influencer Badges and Community Recognition: Identify and incentivise frequent reviewers with badges and verification systems (subject to further research and gamification policies).Comment Sync: Employ AI/ML to connect users with similar movie preferences, allowing them to share recommendations and see each other’s watchlists.Like/Dislike System: Allow users to like or dislike comments, potentially promoting valuable feedback to directors, writers, and producers.Community Guidelines: Implement clear rules for respectful and constructive communication.

Content Filtering and Moderation

Comment Filtering: Users can filter comments to see through the categories such as spoilers (plot points, unexpected twists) or general discussionsComment Tags: Categorize comments as “good,” “bad,” or “general” to provide context for users.Comment Relevance: Require comments to directly reference specific movies, episodes, or plot points to avoid randomness.Moderation System: A system for removing (not allowing) irrelevant comments, offensive, and abusive comments (automated and/or human oversight). All comments must be related to or make reference to a movie/show.

Enhancing User Interaction & Discovery

Comment Tags: Categorize comments as “good,” “bad,” or “general” to provide context for viewers.Comment Likes/Dislikes: Promote highly-rated comments to directors, writers, and producers for potential feedback opportunities.Comment Sync: Using AI, connect users with similar movie preferences to share current watchlists and recommendations.

Promoting User Engagement

AI Integration: AI can suggest leaving or reading comments based on user behavior (similar to “Are you still watching?” prompts). Utilise AI/ML to suggest leaving or reading comments based on user behaviour and viewing patterns.AI-powered Behaviour Analysis: Utilise AI to observe user behaviour and suggest engaging with the comment section (ask users if they want to read reviews) when they stop watching a movie halfway through.Gamification: Identifying and promoting frequent, insightful reviewers with “influencer badges” and verification systems. Implementing additional user satisfaction strategies based on future research.

Netflix’s Data-Driven Advantage

Netflix’s success hinges on its deep understanding of users, achieved through a data-driven approach. This method involves testing hypotheses, analyzing metrics like retention, revenue, and cost, and most importantly, observing how user behaviour changes.

For a product strategist at Netflix, data is the foundation. Next steps: Here’s how I would leverage Netflix data driven approach to explore the possibility of a comment section

Deep Dive into User DataLearning from the CompetitionFormulate Hypothesis and User Interface DesignGo-to-Market Strategy and Success Measurement


By meticulously analyzing existing user data, conducting surveys, and learning from competitor designs, Netflix can tailor the comment section to user needs and optimize its impact on both user experience and business goals.

This approach ensures that the comment section becomes a valuable addition to the platform, enhancing the overall Netflix experience for everyone.

If you’re passionate about crafting engaging comment experiences and have some free time, let’s design what the Netflix comment section should look and feel like. Feel free to refer to this document as it serves as a Roadmap or Product Requirements Doc (PRD) to get you started.

I’m happy to collaborate, answer all your questions and provide further details.