Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

New on Netflix: Ads

Jason Koebler, Vice:

For now, the company is primarily experimenting with the HBO model of pitching its own original programming to viewers. The company is only showing trailers for shows like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards — it has not attempted to sell third party ads, and the company told me that, for the moment, only specific users in specific markets are seeing ads.

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It’s worth noting that, though Netflix hasn’t had any ads so far, it has the potential to deliver much more targeted ads (which can be sold for higher rates) than a standard cable company. Netflix has a detailed history of every show you’ve ever watched, meaning it can infer your interests and so on.

One of the key selling features of Netflix was its lack of ads. You plop down on your couch in front of your Roku, Apple TV, or your computer, and fire up the show or movie you want to watch. It’s a compelling pitch. Now, they’re bailing on that. And they could potentially — as pointed out in a style of FUD that Vice does so well — combine the frustration you feel when sitting through an ad break with the disgust you feel when you realize just how targeted the advertising is.