Netflix and Spill
The Netflix Preview Club (NFLX) is the streaming industry’s reboot of one of Hollywood’s tried-and-true best practices — the focus group.
The Netflix Preview Club consists of a group of Netflix users who are granted access to view select movies or shows before they are released. After receiving a sneak peek at the content, these users provide feedback to Netflix about what they liked or didn’t like. The program is a way for Netflix to ensure the quality of new content before it hits the platform.
Netflix Preview Club, which launched just over a year ago, currently consists of merely 2,000 or so subscribers. However, by next year, Netflix plans to expand it to include tens of thousands of users worldwide.
Gaining feedback from your audience by testing a new product is hardly a unique idea. In fact, Netflix isn’t the only streamer to have such a program in place. Prime Video (AMZN) has Amazon Preview, which operates in a similar fashion to Netflix’s program, and Hulu has gathered viewer feedback for years through the Hulu Brain Trust.
In the past, Netflix has used a similar strategy when launching new product features, and it has historically gathered pre-release feedback from its employees as well. However, the rate at which Netflix is expanding its Preview Club suggests a potential significant shift in focus — from quantity to higher quality.
Why Get Feedback?
After a rocky start to the year, Netflix has refocused on profitability, stating it will limit its formerly relaxed spending on original content, at least for the next few years. Testing shows and movies prior to release can help it wring maximum value out of the money it does spend.
It doesn’t hurt that Netflix has already found success with this strategy. Members of the Netflix Preview Club flagged early cuts of the streamer’s original 2021 film Don’t Look Up as too serious. Netflix used this feedback to add more comedy to the film, which was eventually nominated for four Academy Awards.
Unfortunately, the Netflix Preview Club is members-only — and not accepting applications. Participants are randomly selected. But, if you don’t happen to get the invitation, keep an eye on the quality of content over the next couple years. If the Golden Age of Television stretches on, now you know why.
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