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How to unlock the codes to all of Netflix’s TV and movie categories

Microgenres, meet numerical codes.

How to unlock the codes to all of Netflix’s TV and movie categories
[Photo: Charles Deluvio/Unsplash]

Navigating through Netflix’s endless viewing options has never been easy. And now the company has made it even more complicated—or at least more geeky.

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For those who want to dive deep into Netflix’s über-specific sub-genres and search for movies and TV shows that fall under headings like “Canadian Christmas Children & Family Films” or “Army Dramas,” all you have to do is go to Netflix-Codes.com and browse through the company’s long list of categories. Each one has a number. Not an easy number to remember, like, say, 78. More like: 75804 (Vampire Horror Movies) or 9916 (Romantic Independent Movies). Once you have the number, you can enter it into the search bar on Netflix, or just click on it, or swap it in for the xx in this link:

https://netflix.com/browse/genre/xx

See? Easy and intuitive!

We have to give Netflix credit for taking the time to think of all of these categories. Dreaming up micro genres and serving them up to you in a personalized fashion is a core strand of Netflix’s DNA and is what has made the company unique from day one. (If you want to read more on the micro-genre creation process, read this.)

But having gone to all that effort, especially for a company that prides itself on being user-friendly, it seems counterintuitive to make it so difficult to search through those categories. Why not just put a button on the home page that links you to the codes? Why even have codes in the first place?

The company presumably feels that the genres provided on the home page (Trending Now, Gritty TV Dramas, Dark TV Shows) are enough to keep people happily scrolling. The setup also allows Netflix to showcase its original content—what it’s most interested in getting you to watch—and put it in front of you the minute you click on the app. Once you click over to the code tiles, it’s no longer clear what is and is not a Netflix production.

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And then there’s the fun, cookie-like element to having to track down what you’re looking for on a separate web page, and then try to remember an arcane code.

Whatever its motivation, in keeping with Netflix’s tight-lipped culture, the company is not telling.

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About the author

Nicole LaPorte is an LA-based senior writer for Fast Company who writes about where technology and entertainment intersect. She previously was a columnist for The New York Times and a staff writer for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and Variety

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