Netflix could soon ditch its ad-free model.
As pointed out by Cord Cutter News, the popular streaming service has begun testing video adverts in between series episodes. A limited number of users have confirmed seeing these commercials, which reportedly promote other shows on the platform.
“So I'm just sitting winding down after work watching some Rick and Morty and the episode finished,” one Redditor wrote. “Rather than give me the option to skip to the next episode it came up with a full screen ‘up next’ for Rick and Morty and ‘but first...’ and proceeded to play a full screen trailer for it and I couldn't go to the next episode of R&M. It had what YouTube ads have, a timed skip button meaning I'm forced to watch ads.”
Other subscribers claimed they, too, were forced to watch commercials in between episodes; however, Netflix has since issued a statement insisting the ads can be skipped “at any time.”
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.
Netflix did not reveal how many users were affected by the test or how long it would last. It’s important to note, however, that the company tests many features throughout the year to improve the customers’ experience; so, there’s a chance this ad initiative may never get a widespread rollout.
Check out some of the responses to the test below.