Here’s one for conspiracy theorists….
Netflix is denying it is sneakily promoting its content to African-American audiences with poster imagery that misrepresents the degree to which black actors appear in them.
One subscriber pointed out that images shown to her were dominated by black performers even when they weren’t prominent in casts, suggesting it was a trick to lure her into viewing.
Other users found different imagery for the same titles including Like Father, Jason Bourne and Monster in Law.
But Netflix says imagery is not determined by personal demographics and its algorithm is based on personal behaviour during a user’s experience.
“We don’t ask members for their race, gender or ethnicity so we cannot use this information to personalise their individual Netflix experience. The only information we use is a member’s viewing history,” it said.
On its tech blog, Netflix goes into some detail to outline its imagery strategy.
“Someone who has watched many romantic movies may be interested in Good Will Hunting if we show the artwork containing Matt Damon and Minnie Driver, whereas, a member who has watched many comedies might be drawn to the movie if we use the artwork containing Robin Williams, a well-known comedian,” it notes.
“A member who watches many movies featuring Uma Thurman would likely respond positively to the artwork for Pulp Fiction that contains Uma. Meanwhile, a fan of John Travolta may be more interested in watching Pulp Fiction if the artwork features John.”