Netflix is currently in the process of testing the use of video promotions in between TV shows. The test, which only affects a small number of users at this time, was first noticed by Cord Cutters News, and was recently confirmed by Netflix through TechCrunch.
The full-screen video promos are personalized to the user and feature content Netflix would have otherwise suggested elsewhere on the service’s interface. For example, you can see similar videos using the recommendation rows. Additionally, these promos also display preview information for the next episode that you’re binging such as the title and description.
Stressing that this is only a test, Netflix told TechCrunch:
At Netflix, we conduct hundreds of tests every year so we can better understand what helps members more easily find something great to watch. A couple of years ago, we introduced video previews to the TV experience, because we saw that it significantly cut the time members spend browsing and helped them find something they would enjoy watching even faster. Since then, we have been experimenting even more with video based on personalized recommendations for shows and movies on the service or coming shortly, and continue to learn from our members.
In this particular case, we are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster. It is important to note that a member is able to skip a video preview at anytime if they are not interested.
Not surprisingly, the limited test isn’t sitting well with some Netflix users, as the following tweets show:
@netflix for the record, this new ad setup that you have between episodes is stupid. It does not make me want to watch more shows, it just irritates me that I can’t read the preview for the next episode. Get rid of this shit!
— This Random Dad (@ThisRandomDad) August 17, 2018
@netflix I don’t like these ads you’ve started sliding in between my episodes of The Office! I’m well aware of what originals are on Netflix – don’t interrupt my binge watching to shove them down my throat!
— Marina (@MarinasAquarium) August 17, 2018
@netflix if you bring ads to your programming, I will have no reason to continue. I pay for your programming to avoid commercials. Just a customers input.
— JennyB (@itsgonnabfine) August 17, 2018
Like JennyB above, I subscribe to Netflix to avoid commercials. I do the same with Hulu, where I pay extra each month to avoid the 30-second interruptions.
Though I don’t believe Netflix’s video promotions are best defined as commercials, I worry this is where things are headed. For those who assume paying a subscription will always mean no ads, I point you to your local movie theater. It wasn’t that long ago when the cost of a movie ticket and a bucket of costly popcorn was more than enough to satisfy movie operators. Now, however, ads promoting things like skincare cream, cars, and soda have become part of the pre-show activities.
What do you think? Do you expect Netflix to eventually add advertising to its subscription service?