Netflix is again testing how to best integrate teaser trailers into its user experience. At Mobile World Congress, the company talked about a test of autoplaying video trailers that would begin to play when users hovered over a title. But the company is also quietly testing a different format of teaser trailer, as well. Some Netflix members are now seeing audio and video teasers as they navigate Netflix, including those that play when they first launch the Netflix app on their television or when they view Netflix in a browser window.
These trailers are different from what Netflix was discussing at Mobile World Congress, the company confirmed with us.
“Some members in a limited test now see teasers with audio as they browse,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We learn by testing and these features may or may not become part of the Netflix experience,” they said.
To clarify, Netflix has shown a type of “motion billboard” teaser for some time as a way to promote a show or film it thinks a user might like. The differentiator here with the new test is that it also includes audio for some subscribers.
For what it’s worth, not everyone is enjoying the experience of seeing video trailers on Netflix.
Okay, WTF is going on with #Netflix? Every time I start the channel on my Roku the last few days, it screams a trailer at me. Annoying!
— Michael Matson (@Meta_Pub) February 23, 2016
Dear @netflix: your “feature” of auto-playing trailers/featured stuff every time I use my Roku is awful. Let us disable that, please.
— Michelle Sipics (@michellesipics) February 21, 2016
@netflix please stop automatically playing trailers on the roku app. It’s infuriating.
— Dominic Vandelay (@DominicVFX) February 20, 2016
The tests are taking place globally, and are promoting the streaming service’s original content, including shows like “Fuller House” and “Love,” as well as content Netflix licenses from others. The trailers are often popping on connected media players, like the Roku.
Netflix has not yet decided if it will make these teaser trailers an official part of the user experience, thankfully.
News of the new audio and video trailers was first spotted by Cord Cutter News, which referred to these teasers as “ads.” They are not ads in the traditional sense, but given that Netflix is testing trailers for licensed content, it could charge for those placements in the future.
Netflix’s user base has been less than receptive to similar moves in the past, including its pre-roll and post-roll ads, given that they pay for an ad-free experience.
However, it makes sense that Netflix would be experimenting with other ways to showcase its content. After all, the company is now heavily investing in its original programming but needs a better way to introduce this content to its growing, global audience.