Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Netflix currently has a relatively small group of about 2,000 subscribers who it invites to preview upcoming projects and provide feedback about them ahead of release, but that number’s about to grow significantly as the streamer looks to maximize its profits in an increasingly competitive streaming market.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Netflix plans to open up its Preview Club program to “tens of thousands” more subscribers across the globe in order to glean reactions from people that might end up being used to make last-minute tweaks to the streamer’s films and movies ahead of their broader release.
That’s reportedly what happened with Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up after a small Netflix test audience said that they thought the movie was too self-serious, prompting the creative team to make adjustments designed to brighten its tone.
Studios soliciting responses from enthusiastic audience members isn’t a new practice by any means, but Netflix’s push to grow the Preview Club comes at a time when the platform has moved to cap its annual spending on content at $17 billion. While Netflix wants to know if people are enjoying all of the content its spending money to create, it also wants to know as much as it can about how best to capitalize on its investments.
Netflix has been transparent about how hyper-focused it is on churning out more worldwide megahits like Squid Game or Stranger Things, which is an imprecise science because the studio can never truly know when one of its projects is going to take off. But as Netflix continues its search for more ways to keep people paying for its increasingly more expensive and harder-to-share services, it’s going to start by reaching out to more of its subscriber base and inviting them to become part of the larger machine.