Netflix tests 'patch' system to reward young binge watchers

Netflix is testing a new feature this month that rewards younger viewers for “binge-watching” their favorite shows on the platform, according to several reports.

The streaming service is attaching locked “patches” to such shows for children as “Fuller House” and “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.” The collectibles unlock as episodes are viewed.

“We are testing a new feature on select kids titles that introduces collectible items for a more interactive experience, adding an element of fun and providing kids something to talk about and share around the titles they love. We learn by testing and this feature may or may not become part of the Netflix experience,” Netflix said in a statement to Variety, which was first to report the test feature.

At present, it appears that a patch does not provide any gift rewards or bonus content to viewers, other than the patch itself. The feature has generated a widespread response on social media, with some users questioning the potential consequences of encouraging kids to binge-watch television.

Netflix shares have more than doubled in valued since March 2017, but the stock fell nearly 3% to about $321 in trading Monday.

The streaming giant is set to spend $8 billion on content in 2018 as part of its push to lure new subscribers. Netflix expects to release roughly 700 new projects this year, company Chief Financial Officer David Wells said at a Morgan Stanley conference last month.