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Netflix is testing unskippable 'promos' between show episodes (Updated)

By Polycount · 26 replies
Aug 17, 2018
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  1. Advertising is nothing new on the internet. Very few people like seeing ads, but most understand it's one of the primary ways content providers keep themselves afloat. However, websites like Netflix have attracted users in droves precisely because they don't have ads, unskippable or otherwise. Instead, Netflix charges users a monthly subscription fee for an all-you-can-eat style of content viewing.

    To be clear, Netflix isn't testing ads in the traditional sense. Third parties are not promoting their products or services through the platform, and that will likely not change anytime soon. Rather, these promos showcase other content on Netflix, original or otherwise. Naturally, that hasn't stopped users who have been subject to these tests from voicing their frustrations on their social media platform of choice.

    Reddit and Twitter users noticed a new test the service is running - specifically, Netflix is showing unskippable "promos" between show episodes to an unknown portion of its users.

    Update: Netflix has contacted us to clarify what's going on with this test. They say you can skip the promos (users claim otherwise) which no doubt explain big part of the uproar. While that makes the test more passable, certainly no one is looking for distractions when you're binge-watching your favorite series and are doing back to back episodes. Their official statement is below.

    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.

    Whether or not this test becomes a full-blown "feature" remains to be seen though given the reactions we seriously doubt it.

    Permalink to story.


    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,720   +806

    The auto play of their home grown content is annoying enough... if I encounter what is being described here I'm done and cancelling too.
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,385   +3,775

    Way to go NetFlix ...... way to PO your user base!
    Clamyboy74 and Musyawarah like this.
  4. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,547   +1,767

    I already canceled over the ever rising prices and increasing lack or non Netflix original content. Loosing top gear was the final straw.

    If I was still subbed, this **** would make me cancel fast enough to make a sonic boom. Netflix is collapsing under its own weight. I cant wait until something better comes along to replace it.
  5. ghostf1re

    ghostf1re TS Guru Posts: 414   +265

    Yeah no thanks. I pay for the 4K content already on Netflix, so I'm already paying a premium for the service. I will not pay a dime to Netflix if they start forcing ads on me. I could not care less if it's a 3rd party of a 1st party ad. An ad is an ad and if I'm paying for a service like this, I'm paying to NOT have ads. Hell even Hulu knows people hate ads and that's why they have two difference subscription plans featuring and not featuring ads. Netflix may be testing it right now, but if they fully implement it, I'll be done with Netflix.
  6. ghostf1re

    ghostf1re TS Guru Posts: 414   +265

    Yeah Netflix is going to dig their own grave with this one if they think people are just going to accept paying for the service and still being forced to view ads. Netflix is literally the reason "cord cutting" became a thing. People wanted a lot of things to watch and not have to deal with commercials or ads. Netflix pushing ads, regardless of where the ads come from is garbage and just makes it the same thing as the cable companies.
  7. Axiarus

    Axiarus TS Evangelist Posts: 460   +267

    Hulu still shows ads on their heaviest hitters.
    GreenNova343 and Reehahs like this.
  8. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 8,246   +1,268

    Note: We have updated this story with Netflix's official response.
  9. toooooot

    toooooot TS Evangelist Posts: 815   +400

    Noooooo neeetfliiiix. Whyyyyyyyyyyy. I wont be surprised if Netflix adds ads. It has been a long time, and clearly they are the biggest streaming movie company. That means what? They want more money!
    I am gonna try to contact them regarding this. We must stop the cancer before it spreads.
    Dimitrios likes this.
  10. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,397   +303

    This is why 'scene releases' are popular. no annoying ads, no noisy neighbors.

    the only tv series I really appreciated was House, M.D. my sister bought it in the USA. I converted them to h264 and watched the series in my pc (Philippines).

    if I were a paying customer, I'd be damned if I want my paid subscription with ads.
  11. Reehahs

    Reehahs TS Guru Posts: 729   +472

    The biggest draw of Netflix is no ads... otherwise it would be no different than any other service.
  12. MikeOD

    MikeOD TS Enthusiast Posts: 26   +16

    Ridiculous price gouging, forced advertising viewers have to pay for, and blah blah blah. Then the industry wonders why more and more people torrent their properties. Go figure...
  13. Dimitrios

    Dimitrios TS Guru Posts: 463   +345

    Yup thank god I dropped them when they got greedy, lazy and shady. I have Amazon Stick Fire TV with Kodi and get almost everything I want.
  14. Malakai2k

    Malakai2k TS Rookie Posts: 18

    They say you can skip it but I don't want to have to skip anything! If I'm paying I don't want to see any ads or cross promotion, nothing! If I didn't click on play then I don't want to see it. Which brings up another point, bloody 'AUTOPLAY' on YouTube... can't turn it off permanently. I pay for YouTube Premium so absolutely no ads there for me, except the live spots creators put in the video, double tap or right arrow fixes that, otherwise YT Premium is great. But having to click and turn off AUTOPLAY every few videos is infuriating. Autoplay is only welcome when bingeing a season of one show like on Netflix, YT doesn't work like that. I just want all of them to take my money and shut up, let me watch what I want when I want, nothing more nothing less. I'll cancel if I notice this change on Netflix and go back to P2P.
    Reehahs likes this.
  15. alabama man

    alabama man TS Guru Posts: 563   +355

    I use no service that has ads. Seems like I wont be using my free netflix, wouldn't pay for it as the quality is bad for the price and they don't really have any content to watch in europe. You can watch everything interesting in the free month. Either offer as much content as in US or drop the price and take price of currency into account, I won't pay more for less.
  16. ImmenseBrick

    ImmenseBrick TS Rookie

    I appreciate their greed and all but lets face it, netflix became a thing because people became tired of watching commercials that they paid to watch. Just think of it, paying to watch commercials? I already have the 4k package and rumours are they are going to try and make another tier to extort even more. Next will be commercials...Not a good sign. Their greed will be their undoing. Its like EA, the garbage of the industry that claims single player games are dead. *looks over to sony first party games*...anyway. Netflix better settle down or they will lose people in droves. Make it inconvenient for consumers or too expensive and they will just go back to pirating. I dont like pirating but I refuse to pay money to be extorted.
  17. Misagt

    Misagt TS Maniac Posts: 286   +204

    This is why I hate services like Netflix. They get you in with a reasonable product only get to big and think they are god and start to think they have the right to tell you how to live and what you can and can't see.
    Dimitrios likes this.
  18. Dimitrios

    Dimitrios TS Guru Posts: 463   +345

    Well said and this cycle will never go away. I was shocked NETFLIX didn't become more shady and greedy any sooner. I dropped them and very happy. There is a reason why I never watch TV anymore and NETFLIX doesn't understand it's customers but only cares about shareholders and themselves. We made you and we can break you even if it's one customer dropping them at a time.

    People don't understand how strong we are in numbers. Just look what happen when Football players kneeling and pi$$ing off Trump and American citizens. Numbers dropped and the NFL was hurting pretty badly during that time.
  19. fktech

    fktech TS Maniac Posts: 526   +138

    Commercials like described in this article would end Netflix.
  20. GreenNova343

    GreenNova343 TS Maniac Posts: 361   +245

    First thing, this is no different than what Amazon is doing for their own content -- Prime Video is not only doing the same thing, it truly does not allow you to skip the "trailer".

    Second, this is not anywhere near the same thing as "watching movies with ads". Network TV, non-premium cable TV channels, & non-Netflix/Amazon streaming movie channels (Crackle, Roku Channel, Hulu, Popcorn Flix, etc.) all show ads for other products: toothpaste, DVDs, vacation packages, 14-in-1 fryers, car insurance...the list goes on. What Netflix and Amazon are both doing is showing you a trailer for one of their original-content movies or shows....and they show it one time during your viewing experience (& in Netflix's case, you can hit the "skip trailer" button...just like you can usually hit the "skip intro" or "skip recap" on a TV series, very useful when you're binge-watching the 6th season of a show & already know what happened for the prior 50 episodes).

    And let's face it: unless you're exclusively watching video-on-demand, or digital titles that you purchases through UltraViolet/Vudu/some other service, even premium cable channels have their "commercial" time in between their movies & specials, & you pay a lot more per month for those than Netflix & Amazon Prime combined.

    Plus, I actually like the trailers. Sometimes it's nice to be presented with a potential new item for the queue without having to scroll through & scan the thousands of items available in the library.
  21. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,972   +2,276

    IMO - Netflix is "advertising" their content in too many ways already. There's a list of suggestions. There's notifications. There's how they rearrange "your list" to highlight things in which the viewer may have little interest. Then there's the e-mail - which I finally unsubscribed to. Maybe, just maybe, IF they make this the default, I'll cancel, too.

    I have a life without Netflix. I have so much stuff in my list already that I cannot possibly watch it all. Why on earth would I want to add more of their suggestions to my list when they rarely, if ever, suggest anything in which I am interested? I find stuff on my own that interests me. I do not need their help - especially when the so often get it wrong.

    To me, this is just another case where advertising does not work.
  22. cfbcfb

    cfbcfb TS Rookie

    I canceled netflix over the auto start video. I want to look for what I want to watch and its distracting to have a video autostart. I had to mute the tv while searching.

    Must really stink for people who pay by the GB or have low data caps to have all that video you're not going to watch start downloading.
    roberthi likes this.
  23. cfbcfb

    cfbcfb TS Rookie

    Not to get in the way of a good rant, but the NFL makes its money from tv contracts and sunday ticket, which are multiyear deals that have never, ever gone down when re-negotiated.

    The dumbest was the folks asking for refunds on Sunday Ticket. Directv's deal with the NFL runs to 2022. All that refund did was cost directv money, not the NFL. And then they raised the price of Sunday Ticket to $400 this year to help make up the short fall.

    The supposed "declining viewership" is because everyone is watching less live tv and the metrics for measuring viewership often don't count streaming or delayed view.
  24. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 406   +124

    Now is when I'll seriously consider dropping my Netflix subscription.
    Dimitrios likes this.
  25. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 406   +124

    Sounds great...except that I don't watch anything on Prime already for this exact reason. Just adds a reason to stop my Netflix subscription.

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