Netflix Needs Sub Accounts

Netflix has a great ratings and recommendation setup. I find it’s ratings predictions are fairly accurate, which helps narrow my selection when I’m looking for something new. The more shows you rate, the better it gets. When you watch shows through a device like a Roku box or an Xbox 360, Netflix offers you a nice selection of similar titles.

The only problem is right now Netflix thinks I watch nothing but kid shows and vagina dramas.

See, my kids and the kids we babysit watch their shows all day. Nights when I’m off to karate class, the Wife watches her shows. Now all of my recommendations are “Movies like The Princess and the Swan” or “Light-hearted romances for chicks”. Fortunately the majority of the movies I’ve rated are the kind of flicks I like to watch. I can scroll down to broader genres like horror and thriller and still get recommendations, but most of the “hey, watch this!” options are for the Wife and the Rugrats.

The other problem is those horror and thriller recommendations at the bottom of the list. Sometimes even the titles and box covers aren’t appropriate for the kids, and the Wife isn’t thrilled when the Midget asks what Bitch Slap means or what Human Centipede is about.

The kids don’t have free access to the television so I’m not too worried about parental control settings yet, but it would be easier if Netflix would set up sub accounts or profiles for families. For example, after opening the Netflix app/channel on a device, you then tell it who you are. That way I can get recommendations specifically for me, the Wife can get hers, and the kids can get their own. Then maybe we can further limit the kids’ recommendations to certain ratings or content restrictions so the Wife doesn’t find out the hard way that Afro Samurai wasn’t appropriate for them after all.

My father and a few other people took a pessimistic view of that: “Why should Netflix give you profiles if they can get you to buy two or three accounts instead?” That’s a possibility, but it’s not like Netflix has made a push for that. What’s more, their software doesn’t seem to be designed for either multiple accounts or sub accounts. I haven’t had to log on or off since the first time I set up each device, even after restarts and system lockups.

I’m not a programmer or an engineer. I have no idea how difficult this would be to implement or how much it would increase the workload on their servers to calculate ratings for multiple profiles across a given percentage of user accounts. I just think as more families cut the cord, this could be a great convenience and possibly even a selling point.

Make it happen, Netflix. Please?

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.


  1. Noah L says:

    When I lived at home I had a sub-account on my dad’s Netflix account, actually–I logged in as him and then switched the user to myself which brought up my own queue and my own recommendations. Have they gotten rid of that?

  2. Noah L says:

    Yeah, that was online–the only consoles we ever owned were a NES, SNES, and a Gamecube :P