Netflix is reportedly testing a new feature advertising its own shows in between episodes of those who are binge-watching a series on their service.
Netflix users who have been added to this trial have been appearing on Reddit and Twitter and they are already complaining about the feature. The function adds a full screen video ad, personalized to the user, featuring content Netflix would have otherwise suggested elsewhere in its user interface.
Thankfully as of now, these video promos are skippable. Netflix offered the following statement to TechCrunch about the testing:
“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.”
It’s not clear if this test is a sign of Netflix intentionally losing its biggest advantage of being ad-free and then doing a Hulu with a tiered payment plan offering true ‘ad-free’ and ‘some ads’ versions of the site.