Netflix is trying out a new feature that you may not like if you prefer your binge watching to go uninterrupted. The streaming service is testing out video ads in the form of a short trailer at the end of movies or a series episodes that suggest Netflix content you may want to watch next. Like YouTube, users are able to skip the ad after a few seconds, but it’s just one more step between me and my binge re-watch of The Crown.
"We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement to Ars Technica. User responses have been largely negative. One of the main complaints online has been that paying for a subscription usually means that you get rid of ads, not put them in. Not all users will see these ads yet, because any good study requires a control group whose set-up is unchanged. If you prefer not to be a guinea pig, there is an option to opt out of these experiments. If you click here, you can turn off the setting that includes you in all Netflix user experience tests.
Personally, maybe it’s because of my diehard love of quizzes, but I’d much rather have a feature that I could click on to help me decide what to watch next through a series of questions. I don’t expect Netflix to guess if I’m in the mood for a psychological thriller or a cheesy romantic comedy. I’d rather tell it and then have Netflix offer suggestions.
Netflix underscored in their statement that they are still in the testing phases and claim they are being mindful of what users are saying on social media; however, they are more concerned with how users interact with the new video ads. If Netflix finds that people are engaging with them and using them to watch more, it’s likely that you’ll be seeing more of the ads in the future. So if you hate it, it’s not too late to complain about it on Twitter.