If you like the idea of getting to see Netflix movies and shows before they go on show to the public, then you’ll want to be a part of the Netflix Preview Club: a group of subscribers who get to see content early in return for reviews and feedback.
According to The Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab) (via TechCrunch (opens in new tab)), the club is opening its doors wider. Around 2,000 people are currently enlisted, but that’s set to rise to the tens of thousands in the early part of 2023, picked from all across the world.
“Netflix is working to ensure that every dollar spent on content yields the highest level of member attention and engagement across its 223 million-strong subscriber base globally, and comes as streamers more heavily scrutinize content spending and focus more on profitability,” reads the WSJ report.
Needs more humor
The existence of the Netflix Preview Club – which is similar to schemes run by the likes of Amazon Prime Video and Hulu – was previously revealed by Variety (opens in new tab). The practice of getting early feedback on films and television programs is of course nothing new, but it seems as though Netflix wants to expand its own system.
Apparently, more humor was added to the 2021 Netflix movie Don’t Look Up, based on early audience feedback. It went on to break weekly viewing hour records on the streaming service, and earned four Oscar nominations as well.
It’s not clear exactly how people are picked to be part of the Netflix Preview Club, but we’d suggest keeping a close eye on your email inbox. Presumably Netflix will want to ensure it gets a good cross-section of subscribers to hear feedback from.
Analysis: valuable feedback
While test screenings are common in the entertainment industry, it’s interesting to get a glimpse into how early reviews and feedback work at Netflix. As per the WSJ, Netflix employees also play a role in reviewing content ahead of time.
A platform like Netflix has the benefit of a huge amount of user data: what people are watching, how quickly they’re watching it, what they like to watch next, and even at what point in films or shows people give up and abandon watching something.
That’s all valuable feedback when it comes to making sure something is a hit rather than a miss. According to the new report, creators “are typically able to decide which alterations to make” – it doesn’t sound as though they’re forced to make any changes.
How much gets altered also depends on how much spare footage the production teams have available: reshoots are costly and inconvenient, so it’s unlikely they would go to the effort and expense to get them unless something met with a really negative reaction.