Since the time it arrived, Netflix has been an outstanding way to watch television shows and movies. Its collection of titles has grown exponentially, and indeed the way in which it reached our screens has changed over the years.
But one thing that has remained constant was an ad-free experience. Unlike some other services, the interface was clean and did not try to convince you to buy any products.
Maybe it should not be a surprise, but it looks like that may be coming to an end. Indeed, it appears Netflix is at least toying with the idea of bringing advertising to its platform.
In fairness, thus far the ads seem to be less about creating additional revenue than trying to bring awareness to other Netflix shows. In a statement, Netflix said they are trying to help subscribers discover new content:
“In this particular case, we are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster,” offered a Netflix spokesperson. “It is important to note that a member is able to skip a video preview at anytime if they are not interested.”
Despite what is said in the statement people who have seen the ads, which appear in between episodes, claim there has been no way to skip past them. There is a countdown clock in the lower corner, however, which is similar to what is found on YouTube.
For some this may not seem like a big deal, as it’s not like these commercials are interrupting the show. Besides, they could offer a nice chance to get up from the couch just briefly, providing just enough time between episodes to take care of some things.
And if the commercial leads to a new show to watch, even better.
But still, ads are ads
While Netflix is great because of its ease of use and many shows and movies offered, one of its most appealing aspects is the ad-free experience. The ability to binge watch on anything for hours on end — all without having to stop for an ad — is something most of us really, really appreciate.
And though Netflix says they are just testing this new idea and only using it to promote shows, it stands to reason it could be the beginning of a larger plan to introduce advertising. After all, if we get comfortable with the occasional show preview in between episodes, who is to say down the road those don’t turn into actual commercials?
Netflix could certainly make more money if they started airing advertisements, and it’s rare to find a major company who is averse to earning extra money. With more than 130 million users worldwide Netflix doesn’t appear to be hurting, but that doesn’t mean they will not explore other avenues with which to increase profits.
Besides charging more for a subscription (which has already been done), ads would seem like the natural next step. That’s not to say they’ll take it.
In other words, this could be a slippery slope Netflix eventually goes down, or it could be random musings that never come to fruition. Regardless, that Netflix is even testing this concept is a sign that they are interested in implementing it, and from there we can only wonder what will happen next.