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Netflix’s new ‘mystery box’ is like a kids-focused version of the shuffle button

Netflix’s new ‘mystery box’ is like a kids-focused version of the shuffle button


When you need to find something that’s not Cocomelon

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What show is in the box?
What show is in the box?
Image: Netflix

Netflix is introducing a new “mystery box” feature that’s intended to help kids discover new shows. Basically, it sounds like a kids-themed take on Netflix’s “Play Something” button, and it seems to take inspiration from the very popular trend of unwrapping toys.

On “TVs around the world,” Netflix will add a sparkly icon with a question mark in the favorites row of a kid’s profile, according to a blog post about the feature. “Hover over the sparkly ‘mystery box’ to discover a title that is ‘new for you’! And voila, it’s showtime,” TJ Marston, Netflix’s director of product innovation for kids and family, said in the post.

Netflix has steadily been investing in the version of its service for kids with things like a profile redesign, the Top 10 row for age-restricted profiles, and even a test of a TikTok-style feed for kids. The company has also made some big bets on kids-focused content, including buying the rights to Roald Dahl’s catalog, though Variety reports Netflix recently scrapped several animated projects in the works.

The new mystery box feature could help kids find something new among the vast number of kids-focused titles on Netflix, much like the “Play Something” button is supposed to help adults discover new content.

In its last earnings call, Netflix reported that it lost subscribers for the first time in over a decade. After laying off workers from its Tudum fansite in April, Netflix announced additional layoffs of 150 employees and dozens of contractors this week.