Netflix unveiled its SpoilerFoiler app Monday, a tool designed for Breaking Bad fans who want to scan their Twitter feeds without encountering any show spoilers.
Twitter users who log in via SpoilerFoiler get a normal view of their Twitter news feed, except that any tweet containing words about the Breaking Bad series finale will be blacked out. Fans who have a change of heart and want to read a particular tweet can simply click on it to view the blacked out content.
Netflix has geared the app toward U.S. users who won’t be able to watch the show until after its Sunday night airing, along with UK viewers who won’t be able to watch a streamed version of the show until a few hours after it airs in the U.S.
SpoilerFoiler also could be useful to Breaking Bad fans waiting to watch the season once it hits Netflix, said Jose Alvear, research analyst with GigaOM Pro.
“To some degree, Netflix is already being used as a catch-up TV service for people who are cord cutters, or for people who don’t want to or don’t care to watch TV live when it airs,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “In that case, they can binge-view their favorite shows without having to wait for new seasons.”
Rise of the 2nd Screen
Netflix’s introduction of SpoilerFoiler is an indication of the increasing influence of second screen viewers who generate interest in live TV by posting their reactions to shows and sporting events on social media sites, said Colin Dixon, chief analyst and founder of nScreenMedia.
“Forty percent of U.S. consumers watch TV on a regular basis with a tablet or a smartphone, and they’re often using those to tweet,” he told the E-Commerce Times.
“Still, [SpoilerFoiler] seems like a novelty app,” Dixon said. “People that are only waiting a few extra hours to watch the show might just avoid Twitter altogether during that time — and it doesn’t seem like people would have the SpoilerFoiler on for the months it’s going to take for the whole season to get to Netflix.”
Netflix’s release of SpoilerFoiler suggests the company is constantly thinking of new ways to engage its viewers, said Alfred Poor, senior technologist at ANewDomain.
“This is an example of expansive thinking from Netflix — throwing some ideas out there and seeing what sticks,” he said. “There’s clearly a lot up in the air in this industry, and since a lot of companies like Google and Amazon have deep pockets to get content, user relationship is going to be the determining factor in who wins here. This app puts that into context — it’s not looking at the content, it’s looking at the user, saying, you don’t want to hear about this until you’re ready, so we’re going to protect you.”
It’s a smart move to evaluate consumer needs and attempt to answer their concerns, observed Poor.
“Netflix is building its relationship with the viewer,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “People will get to a point where they don’t want to watch anything without an interface intervening for them, which includes recommendations and social interaction. The field is still open with that, but Netflix is making steps towards building that indispensable interface.”
Netflix’s approach to winning viewers could also be helping it in the negotiation room as it expands, said Dixon.
“If Netflix continues to build out this technology, it could give them even more insight as to their content purchases,” he noted. “Typically Netflix can show a content provider all kinds of consumer usage data to guide their negotiations, and now they can layer that with info coming directly from social media to show what the content provider can get out of the relationship. That is an interesting approach, and it would seem to put it at an advantage in negotiations.”