Spoiler Alert! Why Netflix Is Letting You Click Through Big Spoilers From Big TV Shows And Movies

The brand studied the evolution of spoilers and says they’re now more like teasers than rage-inducing friendship killers.

Ever since TV shows became available on DVD, the spoiler has been a significant touchstone in pop culture. A friend or someone you just met mentions a show and the first question is now, “What season are you on?” in order to avoid the possibility of unintentionally ruining that show for the other person. It’s just the polite thing to do.


But according to Netflix, our approach to spoilers is changing. We’ve long debated the statute of limitations of a spoiler, and whether it’s FINALLY safe to talk about season one of The Wire. A new survey by Harris Poll for the company found that 21% of Americans say it’s perfectly fine to share a major plot twist immediately. In fact, 94% say that hearing a spoiler doesn’t make them want to stop watching the rest of a TV series, and 13% reported that a spoiler actually makes them more interested in a show they hadn’t seen or weren’t planning to watch.

Enter “Spoil Yourself,” Netflix’s new app that will totally blow the key plot points of 30 very popular movies and TV shows–including Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Battlestar Galactica, The Hunger Games, The Usual Suspects, and World War Z–if you want it to.

The company also sent author and cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken to people’s homes to study how they watch and talk about TV. McCracken identified five different types of spoilers. The Clueless Spoiler, The Coded Spoiler, The Impulsive Spoiler, The Power Spoiler, and The Shameless Spoiler. The new app also helps you identify what type you are.

As TV viewers go, there tends to be two kinds of people–those that value the destination over the journey and vice-versa. Depending on which you are will go a long way to determine the odds of you punching each Spoiler Type in the face.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.