What do you say when Netflix comes knocking on your email box and says… fancy a trip to London? If your answer is anything other than YES, YAHA, PLEASE and OOOO CAN I GO NOW, then I don’t believe you’re a real human being. Or else you don’t like telly. And if you say you don’t like TV, I’d say you haven’t found the right programme yet!
As part of the Netflix Stream Team, I and another batch of Irish bloggers were recently whisked over to London for the night to take part in a Netflix promotional event. Yes things like this do happen to bloggers. No it’s never happened to me before this. Yes, I will blog forever more just to get perks like this.
Being a busy Mammy and working and having a lot going on at the minute, I didn’t really feel like I could go, but himself was adamant that I took the opportunity and sent me a pic of our toddler holding my passport while I was at work. (Wanting rid of me much?)
I’m so glad me made me go. I had one of the nicest experiences I’ve had for years. If Netflix ever ask you to go to anything GO! They will treat you like royalty. There now follows some gushing about my experience and the brand. This is not sponsored. I was just… well, shocking impressed with it all.
I had never met any of the bloggers in person before our trip away so it was lovely to meet and get to know Alex from Interior DIYer, Geradline at It’s me and Ethan, Sinead at Shinners and the Brood and Becky at Cuddle Fairy. We were looked after by the funny, warm and chief minder Nicola Watkins, who looks after Netflix PR in Ireland. She had a team of Mammies on her hands who didn’t know what to be doing with themselves being let out ON THEIR OWN for a night.
British Airways. Complimentary drinks on the flight. (Take that Ryanair). London City Airport. Never flying anywhere else again.
Nobu Shoreditch. Prosecco on arrival. And there was a smell. A special perfume pumped through the aircon system. We walked through the doors a few times to get a fresh blast… was it jasmine? Lavendar? A hint of musk?
No, it was l’air d’expense – a special scent preserved for five star establishments. I wanted to bottle it and bring it home and sprinkle it around my messy pit so I could close my eyes and pretend I was back there. Forever more.
The hotel had a a ‘spa’ like feel to it – like a Japanese Zen Garden. It was calm and dark and the first thing we all noticed when we checked into our rooms was the gold sinks. Gold, like. The TV was the size of the gable end of my house and the bed… oh the bed. Big. White. And no child or husband in it. All of us were salivating at the thoughts of a night’s undisturbed sleep. We got ready to head out but none of us could WAIT to get back.
The Evening Entertainment
We got to meet Francesa and Georgia, who look after Netflix PR in the UK and they were absolute dotes – they were full of energy and life and hugely enthusiastic to meet us and show us what they’d planned for the next day. We got to talking about food and Vietnamese was suggested, so off we trotted to Cay Tre and queued to get in – always a good sign. We were seated downstairs, squashed together at tiny formica tables, waiting on the freshest food I’ve possibly ever tasted to arrive. I expected the food to be quite oriental – Chinese style dishes, but it was more a mix of curries and noodles – like dishes you’d cook up yourself, only yummier of course. The food was so nice I even ate squid. THAT’S how good it was. Fed and watered, we headed back to the hotel to enjoy some cocktails at the bar. It was all very cool and trendy and as I strained to see were there any celebs in the Nobu restaurant I realised that for one night only, WE could pretend to be celebs. In our heads anyway. Drinking flowers in our drinks. Real petals like. And then bed early – because – a bed. With no on else in it. Isn’t it mad you have to be flown to London to get a night’s kip?
Alive and fresh the next day (SLEEP YAH, WOOHOO) we were taken a short distance away to what looked like a very normal office building. We piled into the lifts and when they opened we walked into the Netflix apartment. It was only fab. There were flowers and cushions and all manner of branded and on colour things to look at and touch and feel. The food was lined up ready for us, the caterers there to look after us and that was the point where I pinched myself. It just felt fab.
So… down to business. Jai from Netflix introduced himself and started a AA type meeting, where we were all had to say our names and what we were currently watching on Netflix. He warned us that our streaming profile said a lot about us and there was no hiding from it. Don’t be ashamed! So I told the truth – Hello, my name is Nicola and I watch sex worker documentaries on Netflix. (I even blogged about that here). Hot Girls Wanted? said Jai. Yes. I nodded. There. It was out. The real me.
After fessing up our boxset obsessions, Jai went onto present to us about where Netflix was going in 2018. He filled us in on the background to the streaming service and gave us the inside track on a few programmes. (Making a Murderer. That’s all I’m saying). Frankie then told us about a new Netflix app for Stream Teamers which we’ll be signing up to and told us how they always love to hear our feedback.
The whole atmosphere was genuine. There was huge passion for the brand and it was very interesting to hear the real facts behind what is now, for many of us, a daily part of our daily lives. Here are five things I picked up that you may not know about your Netflix subscription.
Five Things you probably didn’t know about Netflix
How it became
I had never heard the story of how Netflix was invented or came into existence. Jai told us that founders of Netflix had a bad experience with a well known DVD rental store (remember them) and got fined a large amount after forgetting to drop back a DVD. They thought – why should it be this way? What if there was a service that let you watch whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted? The streaming notion was born but it took some time until internet services caught up. The idea behind Netflix is to take all the best parts of TV – great programmes, not having to wait until the following week to see the next episode and no ads and bringing it all together in one affordable package. You pay one price and watch as much as you want. Brilliant. Thank you Mr Hastings and Mr Randolph. Thank you.
The technical drive
I’d read recently that Netflix is a very slick operation with very few staff, compared to other TV operations. It means all the spend can go into the programming. Jai told us that Netflix, worldwide, while streaming to 100 million customers only has about 3000 staff, and 2000 of these are technical staff – working on ensuring your profile is completely suited to you. I found this really surprising – we’re just so used to turning on the box and flicking through the stuff – it’s amazing to think that so many people are employed in making it all work behind the scenes.
Your personal profile
When you join Netflix you set up your profile and watch all your programmes through this. For the love of God, don’t let anyone watch anything else through your profile. Send them packing. They will mess up the whole technical structure 2000 Netflix employees worldwide are working on! If someone does happen to do the dirty on your profile you can actually go in and delete those programmes off, to bring back the recommendations perfected for you. I’d no idea you could do that. Do it through a laptop and simply ‘x’ off the programmes in your viewing activity. (So I really can get rid of all traces of those underworld, gory documentaries I watch then?)
Myself and himself were a bit perplexed by this recently. Shows we thought were excellent were being rated quite low and others we thought weren’t that good were getting really high ratings. It just didn’t seem to make sense. Well people, the ratings are not based on votes from people all over the world – they’re actually rated personally for you. The star ratings indicate how likely it is that you’ll enjoy a programme – or how closely matched it is to your personal preferences. Mind. Blown. That’s why you should continue to rate programmes as you like them, to help streamline your own recommendations.
Think of the family
We all had a good guffaw at how Netflix is our live-in babysitting service. (Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Pause. No seriously though) Netflix are not unaware of this. They understand how families behave – how kids are put in front of the screen while Mammy or Daddy see to dinner as well as how at the end of a long day, families like to curl up and watch their programmes together. With this in mind, they are working on making things more interactive and they are trying to encourage time away from the screen. You may remember last New Year’s Eve, Netflix cleverly introduced a countdown that you could set for your family so that you could celebrate with the kids, put them to bed and then get on with the real business of drinking in the New Year. Up next, are birthdays. I’m raging my little one’s birthday was in August, so we just missed out on this service, where you get your kid’s favourite programme involved in the celebrations. Watch the video to see how it works. To showcase how Netflix really do encourage time away from the screen, we were treated to three activities as part of our promotional day, including cookie decorating to the theme of Puss in Boots, making indoor gardens like any number of jungle / bug inspired programmes (our favourite is Beat Bugs!) and perfume making – my absolute favourite activity, aimed at older kids, who are all about how they smell. The idea is you tie in activities related to your favourite programmes – so you’re not just watching but getting out and about and enjoying what they inspire. I loved it.
With our fabulous day of being treated like Netflix Queens over, it was time to return to the airport and get on with the business of being Mammy slaves back home where prosecco on arrival was replaced with half drank boppies and l’air d’expense became pong d’change my nappy.
Still though, the memories will live on forever more.
Now, to scrape off that other dirty documentary I was watching. No one will ever be the wiser. Mwah ha ha ha ha. Recommended viewing – Mass on Sunday? Ah yes… that’s much more like me…
A massive thanks to Netflix UK & Ireland for our visit to London and to Nicola Watkins for looking after us. I am a member of the Stream Team and receive a complimentary subscription for review purposes. All opinions are, as ever, my own and honest.