Streaming giant Netflix is testing video adverts between episodes to promote its original content. Users have reported seeing ads for its stand-up specials as well as the latest season of Better Call Saul. The advertising has so far only been rolled out to a selected group of subscribers, as part of a controlled test.
A number of viewers have responded negatively to the trial, with many complaining on social media that the site’s main appeal is its ad-free, uninterrupted streaming.
Netflix has always taken a firm stance against commercials, with CEO Reed Hastings previosuly pledging never to introduce them.
Responding to the negativity, Netlix released a statement saying: “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,” the statement added.
Users are also able to opt out of any “tests and previews” in the account settings.
The scope of the testing and how long it will run for is as yet unknown.