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Netflix testing ads in between some subscribers’ binge-watching sessions

Netflix is currently experimenting with making users watch advertisements in between episodes of certain shows. Initial reports have surfaced on the Netflix subreddit, with users from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia complaining about advertisements interrupting their binge-watching.

One user, based out of the U.K., said that they saw ads for Better Call Saul while watching episodes of Rick and Morty. The user described the ads as similar to those seen on YouTube, with an option to skip the ads after watching them for a few seconds. The thread posted by a U.S. customer said that they saw ads for Insatiable while watching Shameless.

In a statement made to Ars Technica, Netflix did confirm that the ads were intentional and said they were searching to find ways to make it easier for viewers to find shows that they enjoy.

“We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster,” said a Netflix representative.

The spokesperson also said that the streaming service would only be playing ads for Netflix original content and not shows it licensed from other networks. That being said, Better Call Saul originally aired on AMC and is not a Netflix original, so it appears that Netflix is still sorting out this new system.

Regardless of which ads are playing, the end result is the same. Most users appear to be unhappy with the change. One of the commenters from the U.K. said that they would cancel their account if Netflix continued to push ads. Other users expressed similar frustrations with the ads, in particular when coupled with the company’s recent price hikes. Some users also compared the ads to those found on Netflix rival Hulu, which also requires users to watch ads on its lowest-priced plan.

In terms of the backlash, Netflix said is paying attention to the user response on social media. However, the company is more concerned about how users interact with the ads in the app itself. If users click on the ads or start consuming content based upon them, then it is likely that Netflix will see the test as a success and roll it out to more users.

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Eric Brackett
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