If you like the idea of seeing Netflix movies and shows before they’re released to the public, consider being part of the Netflix Preview Club: a group of subscribers who can see early content in return for reviews and feedback.
According to the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab) (via TechCrunch (opens in new tab)) the club continues to open its doors. Around 2,000 people are currently recruited, but that number will increase to tens of thousands in early 2023, chosen from around the world.
“Netflix works to ensure that every dollar spent on content drives the highest level of member attention and engagement across its 223 million strong subscriber base worldwide, and this is happening as streamers take a closer look at content spend and themselves focus more on profitability,” says the WSJ report.
Needs more humor
The existence of the Netflix Preview Club – which is similar to programs from Amazon Prime Video and Hulu – was previously revealed by Variety (opens in new tab). The practice of soliciting early feedback on movies and TV shows is nothing new, of course, but it seems like Netflix is looking to expand its own system.
Apparently more humor has been added to the 2021 Netflix film Don’t Look Up based on early audience feedback. It broke weekly viewing hour records on the streaming service and was also nominated for four Oscars.
It’s not exactly clear how people are selected to be part of the Netflix Preview Club, but we encourage you to keep a close eye on your email inbox. Presumably, Netflix will want to make sure it has a good cross-section of subscribers to get feedback from.
Analysis: valuable feedback
While test screenings are common in the entertainment industry, it’s interesting to get a glimpse of how early ratings and feedback work at Netflix. According to WSJ, Netflix employees also play a role in pre-screening content.
A platform like Netflix has the benefit of a massive amount of user data: what people watch, how quickly they watch it, what they like to watch next, and even at what point in movies or shows people give up and stop watching something.
It’s all valuable feedback when it comes to making sure something is a hit and not a failure. According to the new report, “developers can usually decide what changes to make” — it doesn’t sound like they’re forced to make changes.
How much is changed also depends on how much spare material the production crews have available: re-recordings are costly and inconvenient, so it’s unlikely they would go to the trouble and expense to get them unless something got a really negative reaction.