Netflix kills feature that rewards kids for binge-watching shows

Netflix corporate headquarters
"Patches" is not the first attempt Netflix has made to add interaction to kids' viewing experience. (Image: Netflix)

After initial tests of a new feature that would incentivize children to watch Netflix series by awarding them patches for watching episodes of certain Netflix series, the service has decided to kill the feature.

Spotted by BuzzFeed, the “Patches” feature simply gave children special badges for watching episodes of series including “Trollhunters,” “Fuller House” and “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

“We are testing a new feature on select kids titles that introduces collectible items for a more interactive experience, adding an element of fun and providing kids something to talk about and share around the titles they love. We learn by testing and this feature may or may not become part of the Netflix experience,” Netflix said in a statement obtained by Variety.

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But, as tweets rounded up by both Variety and BuzzFeed indicated, Netflix users were concerned about a feature that encourages children to watch television.

RELATED: Netflix’s first interactive show is here, but it won’t work with Apple TV or Android devices

Likely in response to the blowback, Netflix has decided against implementing the new feature.

"We've concluded the test for patches and have decided not to move forward with the feature for kids. We test lots of things at Netflix in order to learn what works well—and what doesn't work well—for our members,” Netflix said in a statement obtained by BuzzFeed.

The “Patches” idea was not the first attempt by Netflix to add an element of interaction to the viewing experience, particularly for younger users.

Last year, the service began rolling out “choose your own adventure” style programming that allows viewers to select story elements and change the narrative for certain shows. The first such show, DreamWorks’ “Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale,” popped up in June 2017.

A new interactive title, “Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout,” is due in 2018.

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