Netflix defends its tests of video promos between episodes

Netflix sign Los Gatos
Netflix said its video promo tests are personalized recommendations and not commercials. (Netflix)

Netflix flew into damage control late last week after word got around that the service was beginning to show video promos in between streaming episodes.

Users on Reddit called out the service for the practice, saying it was tantamount to showing advertising. Many users threatened to quit Netflix if the service does indeed begin showing video promos between all episodes.

But Netflix was quick address the tests and point out that the videos are not commercials but rather personalized video recommendations for users.

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"We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster," Netflix said in a statement. "It is important to note that a member is able to skip a video preview at anytime if they are not interested."

The company told CNN that it tests new features all the time and that most new features aren’t adopted.

RELATED: Netflix testing 4K-themed $17 ‘Ultra’ package

This isn’t the first time Netflix has received pushback for serving up unwanted video to its users. The autoplay feature for content previews on Netflix’s platform has earned plenty of criticism from users and the press.

The tests arrived a few weeks after Netflix reported its second-quarter results and called its performance “strong but not stellar.” The company added 5.2 million subscribers, coming up short of the 6.2 million net additions it had predicted. Netflix now has 130 million total streaming subscribers.

Analyst firm Barclays said the company’s results and third-quarter guidance were “meaningfully worse” than expected.

"Also, Q3 subscriber growth guidance is also lower than Q2, which is quite unusual. NFLX did not attribute the performance to anything specific other than to effectively imply that its modeling based on the trailing 12 months may have caused an overestimation of subscriber trends. While we can see how this could have distorted Q2, it would also imply that the company’s consequent adjustment for Q3 could make that conservative,” Barclays analysts wrote.

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