If you're a Netflix subscriber, keep an eye on your inbox early next year: you could be getting the streaming equivalent of Willy Wonka's golden ticket, albeit hopefully without anyone falling into a river of chocolate.
That's because The Netflix Preview Club is expanding, and according to the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab), it's going global.
If you're wondering what on earth the Netflix Preview Club is, it's like Fight Club except without the fighting or soap. Instead, members get to see Netflix shows and movies before they're released, and in some cases can even influence the final product.
How do I become part of the Netflix Preview Club?
You need Netflix to invite you. At the moment that only happens in the US, but according to the WSJ Netflix intends to increase its numbers from around 2,000 people to tens of thousands in early 2023, with members picked from all around the world. Netflix hasn't discussed its selection criteria but presumably it'll use viewing data to identify the best people to provide feedback on particular kinds of shows and films, whether that's Netflix original movies or TV shows.
The goal is to help Netflix have more hits, and it's possible that movies could be changed based on the feedback Netflix receives. It's the streaming version of the early test screenings movie studios have been doing for decades to see how their films are likely to be received, and it's something the likes of Amazon and Hulu do too.
Expanding the preview club seems like a smart move. With the streaming market pretty saturated in many markets, streamers are more dependent than ever on good reviews and good word of mouth. Test screenings are a good way of helping to predict that, and to use viewers' feedback to add or remove anything that might not play well with audiences before the show or movie is released.