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Netflix Starts Testing Pre-Roll Ads


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UPDATE: The CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings just posted on his personal Facebook account that there will be no ads on Netflix. He did go on to add that Netflix is “Just adding relevant cool trailers for other Netflix content you are likely to love.”

So here is the question is a unskippable “trailer” that you did not ask to see a ad or just a “trailer”?

Last week we started to receive reports that Netflix was running post-roll ads after shows ended. At that time everyone who was affected was using an Xbox One to watch Netflix. Now we are receiving reports that Netflix is testing ads before shows start, and we are hearing from Netflix subscribers on other devices, including Roku and Tivo.

When Cord Cutters News reached out to Netflix, we received the following statement: “We are always testing new things via the service, many of which never see a rollout. We have nothing more to add at this point.”

Some users are reporting that they are able to skip the ads, while others say they could not; some users are reporting 20 second ads, and others are seeing longer ads; however, all reports say the ads are for Netflix shows.

Clearly Netflix is looking for subscriber feedback by testing ads. Based on what we’ve heard, they are trying a variety of ad formats to find the best fit for the service. Since Netflix has made the ad testing public by testing on the general subscriber base, it appears they are very serious about implementing ads in some format.

At this time they may be testing the ads with placements for other Netflix shows, but it is likely that they plan to sell ads similar to what you see at movie theaters.

So, the question is, would ads on Netflix change your mind about the company?

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42 Responses to Netflix Starts Testing Pre-Roll Ads

  1. ACarr June 1, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    I’m not a huge fan of ads, but I think placing them at the beginning and the end of shows isn’t too invasive. As long as it’s not like hulu where there’s two minutes of ads every five minutes. Also, there should be a “Netflix Premium” option to operate the service without ads–maybe for a couple extra bucks a month.

    • Rene June 3, 2015 at 7:28 am #

      If They start putting adverts up too then im gone
      i Chose Netflix mainly because its ad free..
      have plenty of lousy Commercial channels
      with Commercials breaks is it is

  2. Mark R June 1, 2015 at 11:53 am #

    Prob not a good idea seeing how AMZ has past Hulu in subscriptions and is already cheaper than Netflix. I still think Netflix is king, but don’t fix what’s not broken.

  3. Sam June 1, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

    I contacted Netflix customer support directly through their online chat and got connected to Gaby. She was very nice and very helpful. I told her that I would be unhappy with Netflix ads and she asked where I had seen that. I sent her the link to this website and she replied with “Oh no don’t pay attention to it. If it’s not from a official Netflix page you don’t have anything to worry about!” So I guess the same response they gave you guys but she did include this after “I’ll pass this forward so my team can be aware of it but you can be sure that won’t happen!” So hopefully they’re aware of how anti-ad the cordcutting and Netflix subscribers are.

    • Admin June 1, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

      A rep in a call center is unlikely to know what is being tested on the service. We contacted Netflix PR to receive the comment from them above.

  4. Ocho June 1, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

    To be honest, if they showed an ad here and there, and it leads to more profits, which means more shows on Netflix, I don’t mind at all even if I’m paying for it. What’s the alternative, another price increase? I’d take a few ads over a price jump. Putting them at the beginning or end of a show is a good call, too. Rather have them there then in the middle of a show.

    • BJ in AZ June 1, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

      I don’t know that I can go along with your thinking Ocho that a few ads here and there would mean more revenue and then more content. I am more concerned that it would mean more PROFIT for them like it did a few years ago when Netflix separated their DVD and streaming and charging more to subscribers without any real benefit to the subscribers. (the wife and I left Netflix when they did that along with many others) In my opinion more revenue doesn’t always mean it’s a good thing for the user/payer but more profit for the company.

    • larrythecableguy June 1, 2015 at 10:33 pm #

      thats the same thing people said when advertisement were first being rolled out on TV.

    • youknowtheone June 2, 2015 at 3:11 am #

      thanks for dropping by, shill 🙁

  5. Jacob June 1, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

    I came across one of these pre-roll ads the other day. The only reason it stuck out was because it simply wasn’t what I was prepared for. There was a real “wait what’s happening here?” feeling for a second or two.

    Otherwise it wasn’t that intrusive. Twenty seconds or less of advertising for a Netflix original and then AHS: Coven started playing as planned. Not that bad. At Netflix’s inexpensive price point, and considering the amount of HD bandwidth I pull from them daily, I might be okay with this if it helps freeze any price hikes. In the current form it’s really not bad.

    But if they go all Hulu with it, or make them as long as the previews before I get to watch my damn Blu-ray movies, I’m out. It’s a slippery slope, Netflix. Don’t test my tolerance.

  6. ML June 1, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    If they expect me to watch ads when I pay for their service and it was not part of the service I agreed to pay for, they had better make the service cheaper. I currently pay extra to have 4 user profiles. I would be very disappointed to see Netflix go the way of Hulu, and will strongly object through any channels offered if I start seeing ads.

  7. Lonnie June 1, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    If they reduced subscription rates as a result.. or made it optional then I wouldn’t care..

    One of the big appeals for paying for content is to avoid the constant barrage of advertising.. it may start as a 20 second thing, then 22 seconds..

    I might be ok with a text add in the bottom of the screen that showed up for 10 seconds and left..

    Ads are one of the main reasons I left Hulu plus.. I pay for the service, yet still have several commercials I have to sit through

  8. Cord Cutter June 1, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

    That would really suck. Frankly, I’d take the money I’m spending on Netflix now and just get an overseas seedbox. I really struggle to understand why all these content providers seem to take the approach that crapping on their consumer base is okay, advertising is one such method when you’re already paying for their service. It just seems to push people into getting content through channels that results in little to no income for the producer.

  9. Trevor June 1, 2015 at 8:02 pm #

    I do not pay for HULU because of the ads they run.

    I do not pay for Cable TV because of the ads they run.

    I DO pay for Netflix because they DO NOT RUN ADS.

    If Netflix starts to run ads, I will no longer keep my Netflix Subscription.

  10. MT June 1, 2015 at 8:20 pm #

    If it meant markedly improving the crap streaming content I pay for now, I’ll take it. If it meant the decent content they manage to add now stays for more than a few months, I’ll take it.

    If they do something like this and their streaming quality stays where it is now, I’ll leave.

  11. JK June 1, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

    I pay a monthly fee for streaming. I do not pay to watch ads. Period.

    • Chamren June 1, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

      This. Exactly this. People migrated from cable to Youtube and then Netflix because of the appeal of not having ads. Granted, the subscription fee for Netflix is minimal, but the moment ads become a permanent fixture is the day I stop paying for Netflix.

  12. Dillon June 1, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

    If they implement ads, I will cancel my sub. I subbed BECAUSE of how fast and un-invasive Netflix is. No big loss — I just got PLEX up and running, so Netflix’s days are numbered for me at least.

  13. Kendall June 1, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

    Any ads and I’m out, canceling the streaming part of my subscription. I have Amazon Prime and can just use that for streaming, along with physical discs. Who do they think they are, Hulu? The whole reason I pay is so there are no overt ads.

  14. Vonskippy June 1, 2015 at 9:43 pm #

    Yeah…..no. As several have mentioned, I don’t pay for streaming ads. People try to do the right thing and pay for the content they want to watch, yet providers just keep on pushing them to the torrents. Come on netflix, if you need the money that much, up everyone’s monthly bill by $0.50.

  15. So June 1, 2015 at 9:48 pm #

    And they just said no ads ever a few months back. Fortunately, there are enough other streaming services. Time to Cancel Netflix!

  16. Dan June 1, 2015 at 9:49 pm #

    How the mighty have fallen.

    It was good while it lasted. Goodbye Netflix.

  17. Dave June 1, 2015 at 11:29 pm #

    One of my favorite things about Netflix is the fact that they don’t have ads. It puts them way above cable, and above their competitor Hulu. There is content on Hulu that interests me, but I purposely avoid it because of the insane amount of ads they have. It’s like watching cable.

    I don’t want to see ads on Netflix. However, if it’s inevitable: I hope they offer an ad-free plan for maybe a dollar or two more a month.

  18. Doodlee Pigvirus June 2, 2015 at 3:08 am #

    they did something similar with TWC on demand. i can’t even convey how sick i got of watching the SAME commercials for shows i already watch over and over.

    and over and over and over. just…NO! you aren’t the only game in town Netflix and i will chuck you like a used maxi pad the minute ads are implemented. just soze you know 🙂

  19. Cancel June 2, 2015 at 5:46 am #

    First add I will see in Netflix will be also be the last.

    I’m paying for the content I want, not for the adds, not for the previews, not for anything else. I will take that payment away if you try push me something which I am not paying for.

  20. Matt June 2, 2015 at 7:49 am #

    The first time I see an ad on Netflix I am canceling. Ads are literally the only reason I don’t have Hulu. You may say one little ad before/after a show isn’t a big deal, but if you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. Things will slowly ramp up and most people will keep giving in a little more until it’s rediculous.

  21. Darren June 2, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    I pay the four-user subscription, and have for years. I will cancel so quick and put my money elsewhere if netflix starts putting advertisements on my PAID service. I can guarantee ad-less competitors will pop-up pretty quickly, and I would much rather pay them, if they need more money for more shows, and they need to run some ads, then they have to add an option to pay your way out of the advertisements for a few extra $ a month. Call it netflix premium or something.

  22. liffie420 June 2, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    So Netflix is going the same way as everything else, I remember when you didn’t have to sit through 20 minutes of TV Commercials when you saw a movie in the theater, just a few movie trailers, but that it all shot to crap. You pay for Hulu Plus, you STILL have to watch ads and commercials. That all defeats the purpose of PAYING for the services to begin with. I can understand and accept ads on the free versions of things like Hulu, but if I am paying for it I should not be forced to watch the same ads and the people watching for free that’s bogus.

  23. T June 2, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    I see an add and it’s over Netflix. Pay attention now, class is in session.

  24. John P June 2, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    Is anyone honestly surprised by this? It was only a matter of time. Netflix data is so powerful for big brand advertisers. They get their ads exposed to over 60 million people. There is so much money to be made in advertising and I’m sure Netflix shareholders have been pushing this kind of revenue model. They will first make small compromises and promise the ads won’t interrupt the show, then little by little these compromises will grow and before you know it you will have to pay $20 for a premium subscription of Netflix ad free and streamed in HD. It’s the American way.

  25. nerdrage June 2, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

    Promos are fine, as long as they follow these rules:

    -ONLY for Netflix originals, ever.
    -One at the beginning or one at the end of any given movie or TV show.
    -Not all the time. Maybe they could pop up every fourth movie or TV show, something like that.
    -MUST BE SKIPPABLE!
    -Must NOT be for a show I already have in my queue or have already seen. Netflix, you can tell this so there’s no excuse.
    -Any given promo is shown only once, never again. I can figure out if I like it the first time, thank you.
    -If I skip the ad, take a hint. It goes away forever.
    -Must be honestly only for stuff Netflix predicts I’d like, namely 3.5 stars and above. This does not include Marco Polo or Adam Sandler.
    -And speaking of that…why make us wait to see promos? Just line those suckers up under a New From Netflix banner, I’ll watch them all of my own accord, or at least enough to know whether they interest me.
    -Anyone who watches at least .0001 millisecond of any given promo is therefore exempt from ever seeing that promo again.
    -Follow my demands and all will be well.

    • Rayjay July 4, 2015 at 3:06 am #

      Netflix is becoming a net version of HBO or Showtime, and both of them have ads between content promoting there content, or events/promotions for there channel. As long as the ads are used to promote Netflix content or more Im fine with it. Most Streaming Services like Hulu have a Bunch of ad’s to fully pay for the content they stream. Like on Hulu some Episodes of Shows like Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. or CSI, are released the Day after airing. I basicly call Hulu the Cord Cutter on Demand hub cause thats what it is. Most Cable based on Demand shows have ad’s put in by the Cable Co. Sling TV is even doing this with there on demand stuff. Except the movies you buy on there.

  26. Marci December 25, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    I will cancel Netflix if they start adding ads!

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