Nothing gold can stay—Robert Frost said that. And you might start seeing ads in the middle of your Parks & Rec binge-watching—Netflix said that.
IndieWire reported that the first smoke signal of Netflix testing ads came from Reddit. A user started a subreddit thread on Friday, saying they got an ad for the fairly terrible Netflix original film Insatiable after an episode of Shameless. Others responded in comments saying they’d seen similar ads.
Netflix explained in a statement to Ars Tecnica on Friday: “We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster.”
Netflix claims the ads are just a test for now—only some users will see them. But it’s unclear how long the experiment will last. The streaming giant also seemed to say that, while it’s keeping an eye on everyone’s gripes on social media, all it really cares about is whether users actually engage with the ads. And if people do, there will likely be more. Change is a stone cold bitch.
Update (2:17 p.m.) Netflix has responded with the following statement, adding that you can always skip the ads:
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.