Get ready for cord-cutting armageddon.
Because $9 a month from a gazillion subscribers apparently isn't enough, Netflix is considering placing ads at the beginnings and endings of its shows. In fact, some users are seeing these ads already.
According to Cord Cutters News, Netflix has confirmed that this is a thing. The streaming media giant is indeed, definitely, for-real testing out "pre-roll" and "post-roll" ads, as they're formally called.
So, the next time you cue up a new episode of OITNB or Daredevil, instead of watching it immediately, you might find yourself sitting through an advertisement first. Then, once the episode is over, instead of automatically jumping to the next episode to keep that bingewatching train chugging along, another ad will air.
Why would Netflix expect its subscribers to sit through ads? Netflix's closest analogy is HBO, which also collects a monthly subscription fee in exchange for content that's both brand new and preexisting. And HBO doesn't air commercials, ever.
More likely, Netflix will downplay its pay-cable similarities and justify the ads by comparing itself to the modern theater experience. There, ads regularly air before flicks are shown, even though consumers have already paid for access to those movies. However, everybody hates pre-movie ads. Some people even show up late to the theater on purpose specifically to avoid them.
Engadget argues that maybe Netflix is looking for options for offsetting rising costs, or maybe it's considering embracing more than one tier of service. Similar to Amazon's Kindle that shows ads, Netflix could conceivably offer a cheaper subscription tier to those willing to sit through commercials. Or in a troubling inversion of that theory, Netflix could hike up its standard subscription price for the "privilege" of watching without ads.
Let us be clear: We don't want ads.
Netflix has a great thing going. Why mess up a winning formula?
Cord Cutter News is quick to point out that Netflix's rep said the ads are just being tested and may never be implemented. While some subscribers are already seeing these experimental ads, most still are not.
So, don't panic yet. Still, you might want to stock up on picket signs and sandwich boards ... Just in case.