extremely online

At Long Last, Netflix Will Let You Kill Its Autoplay Trailers

Photo: Netflix

Autoplay trailers on Netflix are, if you believe the internet, a scourge upon humanity itself. Someone even actually started a Twitter feed to protest them. Despite this serious hate, Netflix execs have ignored user pleas to either get rid of the feature or offer the ability to turn it off. But no longer: As of today, you can now disable those pesky autoplay trailers with a couple clicks.

In a tweet Thursday, Netflix admitted it had heard the complaints from subscribers who didn’t appreciate seeing a Sex Education preview while scrolling around for a movie to watch with the kids. “Some people find this feature helpful. Others not so much,” the streamer said. “We’ve heard the feedback loud and clear — and members can now control whether or not they see autoplay previews on Netflix.” The tweet included a link to instructions on how to disable autoplay trailers and, for good measure, how to turn off the automatic playing of additional episodes or series while watching something on the service. (Netflix has offered the ability to disable autoplay between episodes for years.)

A Netflix source says the ability to disable autoplay trailers is now available to all users in all countries, effective immediately. If you opt out of autoplay, it’ll kill trailers on all devices and platforms, including phones and tablets. It does not apply to those previews that start when you select a title yourself.

While Netflix has been fielding complaints about the insta-trailers, execs insisted many users appreciated the feature since it gave them immediate details about a movie or series, in some ways duplicating the experience of channel surfing on linear TV. Not explicitly stated was that Netflix likely views autoplay previews as a marketing tool — a way to quickly hook viewers on to a new piece of programming they might otherwise skip. (The company spends a ton of time and energy designing the static tiles for each title on the service, offering different artwork for different users.)

But as much as Netflix’s marketing and product execs love autoplay previews, the company may have realized it was alienating users who find the feature distracting and pushy. It seems logical to theorize that a data-driven company such as Netflix saw enough survey results from members who loathed the feature that refusing to let them opt out was costing more in goodwill — and time spent watching — than whatever promotional benefits it accrued from making the feature mandatory.

At Long Last, Netflix Will Let You Kill Its Autoplay Videos