Netflix has been gaining subscribers because of its reasonable price package and the fact that the network doesn't run any advertising. However, news that the streaming service is rolling out its ad feature have raised alarm bells among its users.
The network has been slowly testing advertisements that are played before and after videos, according to Cord Cutter News. Right now, only a number of subscribers have been seeing the ads, which are mostly teasers of Netflix's original shows like "Orange is the New Black" and "House of Cards."
A spokesperson for Netflix has confirmed that the test is in place. "We are running a test to show some of our original programming. As with any Netflix product test, this may never come to all our members," the rep told Motherboard. The test run for the advertisements follow the same model as HBO, which airs teasers of its own content before and after the show or movie feature.
In January 2014, the company's CEO, Reed Hastings, expressed that there were no immediate plans for advertising-based models on Netflix. "Our brand, at least over the next couple of years and at this point, really stands for that commercial-free experience that we have, where the consumer is in control of the experience. So it's fundamental to that control orientation that we don't cram advertisements down people's throats," Hastings said, according to Quartz.
Following this latest development, users posted their annoyance for the new feature on social media sites despite not knowing how widespread the advertising is. But Netflix immediately issued a statement to clarify the tests and appease its subscribers.
"Our policy around ads is unchanged. We have no plans to support third-party ad units," said Netflix's Cliff Edwards in an email to Tech Crunch.
So Netflix remains ad-free—except commercials promoting their own products—should the tests carry out successfully despite some pronouncements by analysts that it will eventually have to run ads to become profitable.