With the recent addition of a second gen Apple TV to my living room, I’ve been watching more and more Netflix streaming stuff. I’ve been a fan since their streaming service was first introduced — their initial content tended to skew towards foreign films, documentaries, indies, and in general smaller and/or older releases and this fit right in to my viewing patterns. As they’ve expanded their content selection I’ve noticed a couple of things that would greatly improve the overall Netflix experience.

1) Now that they’ve introduced episodic content (yay, BBC catalog!) there’s no easy way for users to know when new episodes or indeed a new series/season of a show has been posted. Pretty much the only notification is the ‘new episodes’ label that shows up across the TV show cover image, but that ‘new’ is not relative to my account: in other words, it doesn’t go away if I’ve checked out the new episodes. A neater solution would be the ability to subscribe to a particular show and get an email notification when new episodes are available. This could also help serve as a measure of user interest in a particular show, in addition to already existing viewership data.

2) I noticed that 6 of the movies in my DVD queue have become available for streaming. The only place I’ve been able to compare my two queues is via a browser — since this is not my main method of consumption of Netflix content, I’m not really sure how long some of the films have been available for streaming. They don’t seem to appear automatically in my streaming queue (I would think that the most logical thing to do would be to append them to the end of the streaming queue as they become available). Once again a notification email would be welcome. I’d be curious to see open and response rates on these emails — I imagine it would be quite high on the ol’ engagement meter.

3) On the topic of notifications, I’d really like to see a weekly ‘new releases’ email. Since I still have both the DVD and the streaming subscription, a single email telling me what’s new in DVDs and what in streaming would be optimal but I’d settle for two separate emails. Users should be able to opt out and specify frequency (weekly, monthly, quarterly, never).

I wonder if their APIs expose this information — that sounds like a nice little weekend project to check out.