Netflix to invite subscribers to watch early previews of TV shows and movies

Netflix to invite subscribers to watch early previews of TV shows and movies

Posted on December 5th, 2022

Netflix will soon let tens of thousands of customers watch shows and movies before their release dates, a new report has claimed.

Chosen viewers will be able to preview content before others and provide feedback by completing a survey, sources told The Wall Street Journal. Their responses will help to shape the final product as Netflix looks to optimise its programming to make it more crowd-pleasing.

The move will see the streamer expand its so-called “Netflix Preview Club,” which is currently limited to only 2,000 US subscribers, to global users early next year.

Netflix emails customers inviting them to take part in the programme, with those who agree granted a special account to access unreleased content, according to Reddit users who claim to have participated. Those involved then reportedly have to view and review the content within a week.

One Reddit user said participants also had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which is a legally binding contract, confirming that they would not share any information about the previews with others. The unreleased movies are apparently still in the final editing stage and Netflix does not pay customers to take part in the programme.

Netflix has apparently been operating the programme since at least May 2021. Such focus-group testing has long been ubiquitous throughout Hollywood, where studios and streamers corral viewers to movie screenings and lean on their pros and cons to create the finished version.

Some of the most iconic films have been significantly altered through the process. Test screenings are credited with movie studios’ decisions to kill off Glenn Close’s bunny boiler at the end of the crazed infidelity thriller Fatal Attraction, and for transforming Pretty Woman from a dark and gritty fable to a modern fairytale.

Netflix previously made its popular movie Don’t Look Up more comedic based on user feedback. The Leonardo DiCaprio film tells the story of the world’s ignorance amid an apocalyptic approaching comet. US subscribers who previewed the film reportedly told the streamer that the movie came across as too serious.

However, relying on early feedback to tweak content could also be a risky proposition for Netflix, which has come under fire for its extreme reliance on data. In the past, the company has been lambasted for axing shows too early based on viewing figures instead of giving content time to flourish and find an audience.

Netflix’s programme is currently limited to US users, but Amazon’s preview service is already available to Brits.

Judging by its globalised approach to content, it would certainly benefit the streamer to expand the service to the UK. Netflix is available worldwide, relies heavily on overseas content — including massive hits such as South Korea’s Squid Game and Spain’s Money Heist — and has recently witnessed its sharpest growth outside of the US. In its third quarter, the company added 568,000 users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, compared with only 104,000 in North America.

In addition, the company already tests product features on global customers. It previously offered its shuffle content button to a small subset of subscribers around the world before making it available to all.

Original article: Netflix to invite subscribers to watch early previews of TV shows and movies 

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