Netflix is testing a linear channel with scheduled programming for the first time, in France. The channel began rolling out in select areas on November 5, via the Netflix website, and will expand to more of France over the coming months.
The channel is called Direct, according to a report from Variety, and features French, US, and other international feature films and series. Netflix explained that it chose to test the channel in France due to the fact that viewers in the country prefer traditional TV, noting that “many viewers like the idea of programming that doesn’t require them to choose what they are going to watch.”
This is the first time Netflix has introduced a channel with scheduled programming. The service has tested out a Shuffle feature that would choose content for a viewer who didn’t want to spend time scrolling through row after row of shows and movies. However, there has never an option to channel surf, which many cord cutters say is one thing they miss about cable.
If the channel is a success in France, there could be a chance that Netflix would expand to additional markets including the US. We’ll have to wait and see if how it performs in France and whether the company sees it as a feature that would work in other areas.