For the past few years, Netflix has automatically started playing the next episode of a show as the last one was finishing, to increase the odds that people stay on the couch a little bit longer.
Now Netflix users might start to see ads for other shows during those countdown seconds, as the streaming giant has said it is testing out recommendations.
"We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster," it said in a statement given to the website Cord Cutters.
Netflix released the statement in response to reports after a Reddit post titled "Netflix forced me to watch an unskippable ad for 'Better Call Saul'" was upvoted more than 4,000 times (the thread has since been removed).
Netflix has clarified that viewers will be able to skip such ads for other shows. "It is important to note that a member is able to skip a video preview at any time if they are not interested," its statement added.
Netflix is known for using data to suggest content to viewers and often tests users' responses, CEO Reed Hastings said in a January earnings call. "But we really, as you can understand, steer by the data where we're doing these city-level, country-level experiments to see what are the efficient ways and productive ways to get, say, 'Bright' viewing very large," he said. Members can opt out of such experiments via netflix.com/donottest.