Stranger Things

Netflix is Testing Pre-roll “Previews” Before You Can Watch Your Show


A couple of years ago, Netflix tested what they called “trailers” that played before the show you wanted to watch. After the effort met with massive backlash and negative press, Netflix stopped these tests, but it seems that Netflix is once again using pre-rolls before the show you want to watch.

Update: Netflix reached out to Cord Cutters News with a update on this story. At first we reported that these ads can not be skipped. This was based on reports from our readers. According to Netflix you can skip them but you will not find a button for that. What you need to do is fast forward till you see the show start if you want to skip them.

This time Netflix is calling them previews and starts them off by saying “The following exclusive PREVIEW has been selected just for you.” After that message, you will see a 30 second preview for a Netflix original show.

Cord Cutters News reached out to Netflix about these pre-rolls and recived this statement from Netflix “At Netflix, we conduct hundreds of tests every year so we can learn what helps members quickly find and start their next great binge. We’ve already seen the positive effect of the video previews we rolled out last year. Now we’re experimenting with video based on personalized recommendations for shows and movies on the service or coming shortly. If we don’t test, we won’t learn and we’ll never get better, and who wants that?”

So far, all the reports of this have come from users watching on the Netflix website. At this time, we have not received reports of Netflix testing this on streaming media players.

Update: Readers have now told Cord Cutters News that pre-rolls can also be seen on Roku players.

Last time this happened, Netflix made it very clear that they did not consider these ads, but rather trailers. After facing backlash from subscribers Netflix CEO Reed Hastings went on Facebook to say:

No advertising coming onto Netflix. Period.

Just adding relevant cool trailers for other Netflix content you are likely to love.

There is good news though; you can opt out of these pre-rolls at least for now. If you go into your account settings you can opt out of tests. This will remove beta features form your account and users have reported that it will stop the pre-rolls from starting before you can watch your show.

Have you seen these pre-rolls? Leave us a comment and let us know on what device and what you saw.

Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more news, tips, and reviews.

Need cord cutting tech support? Join our new Cord Cutting Tech Support Facebook Group for help.

  • mnsportsgeek

    I’d rather they raise the price personally.

  • chjode

    And this is how they get me to cancel.

  • MVO

    Oh yes… the commercials are coming. You can count on it.

  • Sunny Rain

    Amazon does this too for their originals. And I honestly don’t mind them as much. If they did actual ads, then I would have a problem with that.

    They need a way to tell people about their shows. TVs get to promote their shows during commercials. Netflix needs a platform to promote their shows too.

    • Vegas Steve

      Which is fine, IF Netflix would allow us to skip them. And I don’t mean fast forward. An ‘opt-out’ would be nice as well (after the ‘testing’ phase that is). But many have been asking for such options since NF started automatically showing a show upon selecting it. They don’t care.

      • Sunny Rain

        I think they said there would be a way to opt-out.

  • Christopher Strader

    I dont mind them hoq else are we gping to learn what new Netflix originals we wanna watch.

  • Eric

    If not an ad then why can’t you skip it? That would reduce the backlash I’d think and then in a year when people are too lazy to skip just accidentally remove that feature and problem solved.

  • Roy Aguilera

    HBO GO/Now does this too.

  • Mark

    Record via PlayOn and ff ads/trailers etc, I do this for CW (with their constant ads), and Hulu.

    • BigO

      We love using PlayOn – it is how we record all of our broadcast network shows.

  • Rickinnocal

    I would actually welcome these trailers IF you could go “No, don’t fancy that.” Skip….

    Don’t like the idea of having to watch it to the end whether I want to or not.

  • BigO

    At least for myself, this really does not bother me. In fact, seeing these “ads” exposed me to content I was not aware of. With so many shows out there, finding other content is not a bad thing (as long as it is not ads for content not available via that service).

  • LCW731

    I’ve been seeing them on Xbox one.

  • AstroMonster

    ABC does the same thing with their content on Hulu.

    Even though I pay for the commercial free version, Agents of Shield still shows an ad for another ABC show before and after AOS.

    It really isn’t that bad, but it is a little annoying that they show the SAME promo over and over.

  • Alan Smithee

    Netflix has forgotten that what made them successful was that they showed everything UNINTERRUPTED with NO annoyances! They lost me when they started the “post-play” garbage that shrinks the end credits to promote other stuff, thus ruining the ending of movies. They don’t seem about to stop that if they’re doing this, which is bad but still preferable to anything that intrudes on the actual content. Someone needs to start up a new service that ONLY does movies and existing TV shows, NOT its own original content that they then feel the need to promote constantly.

    • Patricia Lange

      If you like classic movies, try filmstruck.com .

  • Vegas Steve

    I reported this and Luke sent me to this link. I have a Shield TV and can confirm the ads (yes, they are ads) show up if you don’t opt out of the testing ‘feature’. No problem with this, as long as it can be opted out of.