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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Are these streaming services really paying attention?

We know that all streaming services, Internet sites, and anything that can be accessed via a smartphone, smart TV, or connected device is mining our data and throwing it out into the universe, right? Well, then why aren't any of the streamers doing anything useful with it, like, say, helping me find something I might to watch on their platforms?

I am not going to launch a numbing discussions of algorithms, but are any of you satisfied with "recommendations" or "you might also like" rows on your streaming services? I think they are particularly inept in assisting those of us who prefer material made in the 20th century. It's like the systems can't even fathom that someone would rather see a 50-year-old sitcom than a brand-new direct-to-streaming thriller starring The Guy Who Was in That Show We Don't Watch and The Woman Who Was in the Reality Show That We Never Cared About.

I will give you an example: Last year, I started watching Sony's acclaimed series Family (1976-1980), a series in my wheelhouse--earnest, often corny family-centric dramedies--that I never got to see growing up. I really enjoyed discovering the series from the beginning, and I think it was on Crackle I started, but when Crackle started ditching all the Sony library programs, I found it again on Tubi.




Tubi then lost the series (along with fellow Sony fixture Fantasy Island, another show that was on Crackle and Tubi but is now nowhere), and I bemoaned that here. At some point, Sony's own Classic TV Rewind channel started dropping episodes in order verrrrry slowly. Oh, and Tubi added the series again.

Wait, what?

Yes, Tubi re-added it, but I found out by accident last week. I have no idea when Family returned, and my question is, why not? Tubi is a channel that sends me emails all the time. It tells me what's leaving. It tells me what I have in my queue as if I needed a reminder. It tells me what's coming to Tubi and what's new on Tubi. Yet somehow it never got around to telling me a show I had been watching in order on its own platform was back. 

What's the use of their collecting all my viewership data if they aren't going to make use of it? Whatever else they might be doing with my watching habits, they ought to be luring me in to spend more time on Tubi, thus watching their ads, by letting me know when they get back something I actually watched!

When I think of all the goofy stuff they bother to email about and some of the ridiculous recommendations they make on the site, I can only shake my head. I don't think it's a Tubi thing; it's all of them. They just don't care about what we really want to see. They care about what they think we should see. 

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