Netflix tests ads for the first time while promoting its original programming between episodes from other series, including Shameless, Frasier and Parks and Recreation.
Viewers trying to make binge-watch shows on the streaming service now see their display interrupted by the interstitial commercials, which are broadcast after the end of an episode, before the next starts automatically.
Some users had even reported that the ads did not skip until a certain part was viewed, similar to YouTube's ad format – but Netflix said it was an error.
The company admitted to the test, causing many users to complain on social media. In a statement, Netflix said: "In this particular case, we test whether recommendations at first sight between episodes help members discover stories that they will enjoy faster.It is important to know that a member can have a video preview at any time skip if they are not interested. "
A spokesperson also told technology site Ars Technica that a subsection of users around the world the ads was shown and that it would monitor "chatter on social channels" to see how the trial was received.
Like many technology companies, Netflix regularly tests new functions, large and small, by enabling them for a subset of its users and recording the response.
This practice, called A / B testing, has even enabled the company to show different versions of a show's logo to different audiences: for example, viewers who love romantic movies can get artworks for Good Will Hunting. focus on Matt Damon and Minnie Driver, while viewers who love comedians show artworks that focus on Robin Williams.
Sometimes, however, the tests have resulted in such a negative reaction that the company pulls the function. That happened in March of this year, when the company & # 39; content-patches & # 39; tested on children's program & # 39; s. These badges rewarded children for watching new shows, or for watching more episodes of old shows, but were widely criticized for encouraging binge watching in children, which led the company to do the test.
While Netflix and its competitors are scared of paid advertising in their streaming services, the company is not the first to experiment with cross-promoting its own shows on the service. Sky's Now TV service, for example, has long used similar ads between episodes of other shows.