March 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM ET
Finding your favorite TV shows might be a little easier on Netflix, now that it's incorporating sorting by networks as part of its expanding search parameters.
Advertising Age called these "network branded pages" -- and since Netflix hasn't publicly announced it, that sounds as good as any description for these new search results.
As it works now, typing in a network name may direct you to a page that shows selections specific to it. "Looking for the genre: NBC?" Clicking on that will lead to the network page.
I tried and succeeded with MTV, NBC, Discovery Channel, Nickelodeon but did not fare so well with ABC, CBS, FOX, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, USA or FX. This is by no means a comprehensive test, as I just picked a random sample of the many, many channels I have, as you probably do too.
The unsuccessful grouping pulled up some shows from those networks (as well as actors/actresses who might be associated with the network, or have it included in their names, like CW), but the big, convenient network-specific pages come up as a much more comprehensive option for the networks I mentioned first.
While it's an easier way to search for shows based on networks, is it enough for folks who have already gone through the ringer?
Netflix has tried to get back into the good graces of its 23 million once-devoted, now twice-shy members, bringing back the DVD-only option as a means of soothing furious users or luring new ones to the service. For the most part, users stayed put, but the company suffered higher-than-expected losses from an exodus that never quite met the fury first promised, but still delivered a gut punch.
Netflix first incurred the wrath of the masses last September with its highly unpopular plan to separate its DVD and streaming plans and 60 percent price hike -- which met with an avalanche of criticism for days and weeks following the July announcement of the increase. Its executives apologized, but customer satisfaction sagged. Despite a stock rebound this year, Netflix still faces some stiff competition on a few fronts: Redbox on DVDs, Amazon and Hulu Plus on streaming, and cable for its on-demand programming.