Netflix’s latest test feature is a video promo that plays in between episodes of a series you’re watching. The test is only appearing for select users globally and it’s a full-screen video of content Netflix’s algorithms are recommending to a viewer, as spotted by TechCrunch.
Users who have spotted the test feature have taken to (since deleted) Reddit and Twitter to voice their annoyance at having their show-binging interrupted by an ad for other shows. A bug appeared for some users where they were unable to skip the promo and had to watch a certain amount — like with ads on YouTube — before they were able to get to the next episode of their show. Netflix told The Verge that the video promos are supposed to be skippable and that the feature is not permanent. “We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster.”
Other controversial tests Netflix has rolled out include gamifying children’s shows by adding badges and rewards to encourage younger viewers to keep watching. The parental outrage over that test led Netflix to quickly remove it. Unlike many of Netflix’s experiments, this video promo test also promotes Netflix’s other shows, beyond its original content.
Netflix already auto-plays trailers on its homepage after you log in, and it’s kept that feature even after users gave feedback that it was obnoxious. The company says that these features “cut the time members spend browsing and helped them find something they would enjoy watching even faster.” So the next time you’ve finished an episode of Parks and Recreation, and a video promoting Better Call Saul breaks your flow, Netflix was banking on you to binge watch that next, anyway.