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Revealed: The time it takes to give up on Netflix

Spoiled for choice when it comes to picking a TV show or movie on Netflix? You’re not alone.

Netflix has revealed the amount of time it takes for you to find something to watch before you give up.

Speaking to TrustedReviews in Barcelona this week, Chris Jaffe, VP of Product Innovation at Netflix, explained how the company tracks customer drop-off when searching for content.

“We worked out that we have 90 seconds to convince you to find suitable content,” said Jaffe.

He explained that after a minute-and-a-half, you’ll turn to other apps or “start arguing with your significant other”.

netflixInside Netflix’s rented Barcelona villa

Netflix recently revealed a host of upcoming changes to make the service better for users in a briefing with TrustedReviews.

One of those changes tries to minimise the length of time you spend deciding what to watch.

Jaffe’s team is currently testing short video trailers that play when you hover over an item.

You’ll start seeing video instead of the carousel or rotating images,” Jaffe told us, adding that Netflix is testing “various versions of video” as well as “how long the video should be”.

He said that the idea was borrowed from traditional television, where people expect to see content immediately as soon as a device is turned on.

“The way we see it is that we’re taking some of the things that people are used to from classic TV, in terms of moving images and sound, and using them to make internet TV better,” Jaffe explained.

“There’s an ingrained expectation that there’s going to be video and audio going through,” he continued, adding: “We want to steal the best of that, but we want to bring that into the internet age, which is really defined by your consumer control.”


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According to Jaffe, Netflix regularly trials such innovations, typically testing improvements out on 300,000 users at a time.

“Because we A/B test everything, we know that what we’re going to give people is better,” he said.

For instance, Jaffe revealed that they tried displaying just one image when a movie was selected, but found that “three really worked, and so that was materially better”.

Regarding a release date for the trailer update, Jaffe said he was “very confident this is going to go out later this year” for all users.


How long does it take you to give up searching for a Netflix show or movie? Let us know in the comments.

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