- Cristina J. Orgaz @cjorgaz
- BBC World News
One of the most critical jobs in the world of television is that of the programmer.
The person who decides what is seen at all times: if a contest goes to the prime time, if it is better to place a movie in that time slot …
In fact, this is one of the factors that decide whether a content is successful with the audience or not.
Typically, the position has so much responsibility that the decision rests with a team of people.
But using the services of streaming has turned us all into programmers, and that leads many to spend more time deciofr what content they will see what it takes to see it later, or be paralyzed by so many possibilities.
It is the fatigue of decision.
This term was coined by Roy F. Baumeister, a social psychologist and author of “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greater Human Strength.”
Is he mental wear and tear suffered by a person being subjected daily to an accumulation of information that we need to make decisions.
The first thing Rafael Penadés, a psychologist at the Hospital Clínico de Barcelona and member of the Governing Board of the Official College of Psychology of Catalonia, explains to BBC Mundo is that decision fatigue it is not a clinical disorder, but it is a real phenomenon that thousands of people suffer every day.
Throughout the day, we have to choose many things. Some are simple – what to eat or what clothes to choose – and others are much more complicated because they will have long-term consequences – what do I have to do first or what is more important.
2,000 decisions per hour
Some studies have calculated that a person makes about 35,000 decisions a day.
That is, about 2,000 decisions per hour that we are awake.
The main consequence of these processes is the tiredness, less self-control, and less willpower.
“Making decisions consumes mental energy,” says Penadés.
“The Mental processes are divided into two types: automatic and controlled processes, which require continuous control over them. It is precisely these that consume energy “, explains the specialist.
“This occurs because the part of the brain responsible for decision-making is the frontal lobes. They are the most complex structures we have in the brain and consume many resources,” he adds.
“Something that should be so banal, like watching a series or how to be able to enjoy a meal, becomes something serious in your life and that is going to influence your emotional state“, explains the psychologist Timanfaya Hernández, co-director of the Globaltya Psychologists cabinet.
So when we hit the couch after a long day’s work, sometimes it is extremely difficult to choose what to watch. We are saturated and an inability to continue making decisions overtakes us.
The huge offer in the service catalog Like Netflix or Amazon, although positive a priori, it can make it not easy to get that quiet time in front of the TV.
Decide for you
So much so that the two streaming giants are developing a new functionality that makes it easier to decide: a button that plays content randomly based on our tastes.
You don’t have to do anything anymore choose the algorithm for you.
Both technology companies are concerned because they have detected that “decision fatigue” is causing many viewers leave the app without consuming any content.
“Before we saw what the programmer of a movie theater or a television decided to decide. The films that reached the video stores had already passed through the cinema with what we more or less knew about them. It was easy enough to make a decision“, explains Elena Neira, an expert in new audiovisual distribution models and author of the book” Streaming Wars: The new television. “
Neira believes that the fact that streaming platforms have decided to launch these shuffle functions has to do with this tiredness when it comes to making decisions and with our limited ability to manage the huge supply.
“What the data has shown to the platforms is that our decision-making capacity throughout the day is decreasing, so they need a way to eliminate uncertainty,” he explains.
On Netflix, the new feature is called “Play Something” in English or “Shuffle” in Spanish.
The service confirmed to BBC Mundo that it will implement this function to all clients in the first half of 2021.
Explaining why the platform is rolling out “shuffle” as a permanent feature, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said that sometimes users come to the service “and they’re not really sure what they want to see.”
The feature is designed for users to “tell us that they don’t want to have to search, but click and we will choose a title so that they can see instantly, “he said.
In Amazon’s case, the feature seems more limited, although it will allow viewers to tune in to random episodes of their favorite TV shows.
Neira believes that these new buttons are also “a great way to show new content that maybe a priori the person would not be interested and they eliminate the decision from the equation “.
“What platforms want streaming Above all is that we see content. Because if we see content we are loyal and that means that we will continue to pay month by month“Neira sentenced.