Netflix is testing video ads that play between episodes

Lawrence Kim
August 19, 2018

Now, if you're a Netflix subscriber based out of the United States, you may have done a double take at a couple of those shows. It may sound like a campfire horror story or a lost episode of Black Mirror, but Netflix is now testing a new feature that's created to do exactly that.

Netflix has confirmed a major change to its video-streaming service, effective as of this week for at least some users: video ads for other Netflix series between episodes.

The ads play full-screen videos that are personalized to the user and feature content that would normally be posted on the recommended tab on the home page.

Additionally, a Netflix spokesperson clarified to Ars that the term "test" is key, as it indicates that these ads (which the company emphasizes will only be for Netflix content, not outside products or content) will, at least for now, appear for a "segment" of Netflix's userbase, as opposed to all users. That's right, Netflix is running commercials. The biggest difference here is that as of now, these video promos are skippable.

At Netflix, we conduct hundreds of tests every year so we can better understand what helps members more easily find something great to watch. I literally pay money to Netflix so that I don't have to see ads.

Netflix may be planning to change that, if the test is any indication. Netflix's tests now show personalized video content with recommendations on what to watch next. What perhaps make the promos more annoying is that they replace the preview for the next episode of the running show, including the title, description, and thumbnail.

In this particular case, we are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster.

Users do have the ability to skip these video promotions, according to the report, though it presents a minor annoyance forcing viewers to reach for the remote.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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