TORONTO -- Netflix is rolling out a much-requested feature that should please users with kids and those who share their account with others.
On Thursday, Netflix began officially rolling out the ability to create multiple profiles for a single account, a feature many users have been asking for since the streaming service launched in Canada in September 2010.
"(The recommendation engine) suffers from a challenge, which is most Netflix members have several members of their household that use Netflix independently, so your personal view of Netflix might be cluttered by Shaun the Sheep and other similar titles that maybe your kids have been watching in the last few days," said Netflix's chief product officer Neil Hunt.
"The problem we've sought to solve here is: my home screen is cluttered up with stuff I'm not interested in and enough with the kids stuff already. And I think we've done a decent job of making it one click to be able to segment that into a different space."
Users will be able to create up to five different profiles and choose which to access every time they log in.
Setting up profiles is optional and users don't have to abandon their current viewing history if they're happy with the recommendations they're receiving, but Hunt noted recommendations are largely based on recent viewing habits so users shouldn't be afraid of starting fresh.
"The large share of the personalization is dependent upon the behaviour in the last 30 days so rather quickly we'll resolve toward learning you again," he said.
"If you're the main user and it's got a pretty good idea (of you) then you can kick your kids out into a separate profile... and it gets an even better idea of who you are."
The official rollout began Thursday across all of Netflix's global regions. A small subset of Netflix subscribers were testing the feature before it went public and it popped up for some Apple TV users on Tuesday. It might take two weeks until all users get the update at Netflix's website, on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, on smart TVs and Apple iOS devices. Some devices will take longer to receive the profiles feature
-- The Canadian Press