The company confirmed that some users are now seeing video advertisements between episodes of a show you’re watching.
Netflix has always taken a firm stance against show ads, with the CEO once pledging never to introduce them.
But users on Reddit recently reported seeing video ads on the site. One said: “Netflix forced me to watch an unskippable ad for Better Call Saul [a Netflix TV show].”
Netflix confirmed that trial to TechCrunch, adding that not all users will see the ads.
Instead, a select few will get them as a way to test whether Netflix should roll them out to everyone.
The full-screen videos are personalised to the user.
So when you’re moving from one episode of a show to the next, Netflix will show you an ad for another TV show that it thinks you’ll like.
Unsurprisingly, Netflix customers are furious about the move.
“Netflix, the day I see an ad while watching a movie or TV, I will unsubscribe,” said one irate Reddit user.
“I already pay over $200 a year and watch only a few shows here and there. If you jam ads down my throat for what little time each day I have tow watch a movie or TV series, I’ll just unsubscribe.”
Another complained: “I too will not tolerate paying to see ads. No way.”
The anger isn’t exactly surprising. Back in 2015, Netflix chief Reed Hastings vowed never to show ads on the app.
“No advertising coming on to Netflix. Period,” he said.
And in March 2018, Hastings spoke out against “chopping up” movies and TV shows for ads, saying: “Having a great experience…vastly outweighs the fact that one company is gaining a lot of influence.”
Netflix in 2017 – the key stats
Here’s a look back at Netflix’s 2017…
- Netflix members watched more than 140 million hours per day
- That’s just over one billion hours per week
- The most popular day for Netflix viewing was Sunday, January 1
- Mexico had the most members watching Netflix every single day.
- One person watched Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 365 days in a row
- The average member watched around 60 movies on Netflix in 2017
- The most popular show to “devour” (watching more than two hours per day) was American Vandal, followed by 3% and 13 Reasons Why
- The most popular show to “savour” (watching less than two hours per day) was The Crown, followed by Big Mouth and Neo Yokio
- One user in Antarctica binged through Shameless in 2017
Netflix in the UK costs anywhere from £5.99 to £9.99.
Many users are happy to pay that because they don’t have to accept advertising – unlike with traditional telly, where ads are common.
That’s why Netflix customers are now urging other users to avoid clicking the ads, hoping to make the trial fail.
“They are going to go by how many subscribers engage with the ads and click them,” a Reddit user wrote.
“Do not click the ads. If you do, you are voting to keep them.
“The same thing happened with the auto-play previews that everyone hates. Netflix kept them because people were clicking on them, despite the negative feedback.”
You can opt out of the test ads here.
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In a statement, a Netflix spokesperson said: “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 personalised 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.”
What do you think about the prospect of ads between Netflix shows? Let us know in the comments!
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