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Will Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) Max out its User Experience?

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Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) has been working to bring unique offerings to its service lately in hopes of attracting more users. Between deals to increase the amount of streaming content offered by the service and original programming targeted at its most-watched genres, the company knows that it has to keep improving its offerings if it hopes to keep subscribers coming in.

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX)

This is especially important as Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) continues improving its Amazon Prime offerings in hopes of unseating the reigning champion. The original programming that Netflix offers is expensive, while Amazon’s originals are much lower-budget affairs. For Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) to continue spending more money without the additional income sources that Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has it needs to provide not only must-see programming but also a better user experience.

Enter Max.

So what is Max?

Currently available only on PlayStation 3 consoles, Max is a new recommendation guide that’s one part Siri and one part “20 Questions.” Instead of relying on the service’s “oddly specific” categories to find new movies, viewers can click the “Play Max” button to receive movie recommendations based on the answers they give to a few questions.

The goal is to make the process of selecting a movie more enjoyable, providing users with a bit of personalized interactive fun instead of impersonal category listings. Similar to the service’s recent Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) integration, Max is just another way to try and convince users that there’s more value to Netflix than just the movies and TV shows that they watch.

While Max is currently only available on PlayStation 3 consoles, plans are already in place to roll the feature out onto other devices such as the iPad. Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) knows that some users will never try the feature, but as it is rolled out to new devices you can expect significant in-platform advertising for it similar to the large attention-grabbing ads that the company uses when launching new original programming.

The big picture

Max is just one part of the bigger picture for Netflix. With the success of original programming such as “House of Cards” and the revival of “Arrested Development,” the company is dedicated to providing options that its competitors can’t. As the company’s business model shifts increasingly toward digital streaming, opportunities to offer exclusive content and a unique user experience will increase as well.

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) has signed new deals with companies such as The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) and Dreamworks Animation Skg Inc (NASDAQ:DWA), increasing the amount of content that the service can offer for digital streaming and developing original programming based on already-popular characters. The Dreamworks Animation Skg Inc (NASDAQ:DWA) deal, said to be the largest in Netflix’s history, is especially important to the service since it recently lost several popular shows for children when Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) opted to not renew its contract with the service and took shows like “Dora the Explorer” and “SpongeBob Squarepants” to Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) instead.

Increasing competition

Part of the reason that initiatives like Max are so important for Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) is that the streaming video space is getting more crowded. In addition to Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) Prime and the Coinstar/Verizon collaboration for Redbox Instant, larger companies such as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) are looking to take advantage of the streaming space as well.

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