Marathoning a TV show on Netflix is a lot of fun, especially with the way new episodes will continue to play until you get to the very end of a series—save for Netflix’s periodic wellness checks to make sure you’re still alive/able to hit a button. With increased competition from Hulu, though, Netflix has decided to begin testing out a new feature that brings its service more in line with what Hulu is offering. Netflix calls the new feature “recommendations,” but we think a more catchy name would be “commercials.” Basically, in between episodes of a TV show, Netflix will show brief ads for other content on Netflix that you may or may not give a shit about.
This fabulous new feature is currently only live for a handful of users across the U.S. and U.K., and contrary to some initial sky-is-falling claims for Reddit, the ads are at least skippable. While the commercial is playing, a timer will tick down until your TV show will resume, but you can skip the timer entirely. It basically just means you have to either hit an extra button or listen to 10 seconds of Orange Is The New Black, but in terms of optics, it comes across as wildly contrary to the stuff people actually like about Netflix.
Interestingly, in a statement to Ars Technica, Netflix favorably compares the test to the “video preview” system where clips from shows and trailers for movies will automatically play if a user hovers over them. Despite how terrible and annoying that is, Netflix says it has “significantly cut the time members spend browsing” (possibly because users are more desperate to find something so they can stop the auto-playing videos). Netflix is evidently hoping these commercials will be similarly successful in helping people find new things to watch, but that’ll only happen if enough users actually interact with the ads.
So, if you’re one of the Netflix subscribers currently being subjected to this test, avoid clicking the ads and you may spare the rest of the Netflix community from getting commercials.