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Netflix rolls out a new discovery feature for kids | Engadget

Picking out something new to watch from Netflix’s slew of kid’s titles can be overwhelming, for both parents and children. And sometimes kids are just indecisive. But the streaming service’s new “Mystery Box” feature on Netflix Kids — available today — can leave the decisions up to the algorithm. Similar to the “Play Something” option for the adult set, the Mystery Box feature will pick a new title that viewers haven’t watched before. Rest assured, the new show or film that Mystery Box selects won’t be a complete wildcard pick — the titles will be similar to shows that viewers have already deemed their favorites.

In order to try out the Mystery Box, select a kid’s profile on Netflix on any platform of your choice. Then go to the “Favorites Row” on top of the homepage. Finally, hover over the “Mystery Box” option to see a selection of new titles. According to a Netflix spokesperson, the new discovery mechanism will surface one new viewing option per day.

When it comes to children’s programming, Netflix has more competition than ever before. Its main rival in the space — Disney+ — is planning on a $32 billion content spend for the 2022 fiscal year. Hulu, HBOMax and Apple TV+ all offer children’s programming. Netflix last year acquired some high-profile IP, including the Roald Dahl Story Company. But given its current commitment to trim costs in light of a historic drop in subscribers earlier this year, we’re likely to see Netflix be more cautious moving forward. A number of kids titles that were in production recently got the chopping block, including an animated series by Meghan Markle and Ava DuVernay’s Wings of Fire.

Update 5/19/22 6:23pm ET: The headline has been changed and additional information on the frequency of “Mystery Box” options has been included to better reflect how the feature operates.

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