Not so fast: Netflix faces backlash over playback speed test feature

By Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

Netflix has been criticised for a test feature allowing viewers to watch films and TV series at different speeds.

The streaming giant confirmed it was trialling a feature which allows mobile users to either speed up or slow down content.

Filmmakers and actors responded by voicing concerns it would compromise the artistic vision of creators.

Filmmaker Judd Apatow has criticised Netflix over a test feature allowing viewers to speed up or slow down content (Ian West/PA)

Judd Apatow, director of films including Knocked Up and Trainwreck and who co-created Netflix series Love, called the proposed feature “ridiculous and insulting”.

He tweeted: “No @Netflix no. Don’t make me have to call every director and show creator on Earth to fight you on this. Save me the time.

“I will win but it will take a ton of time. Don’t f*** with our timing. We give you nice things. Leave them as they were intended to be seen.”

Aaron Paul, star of Breaking Bad, said the feature equated to “destroying” art.

He said: “There is NO WAY @netflix will move forward with this. That would mean they are completely taking control of everyone else’s art and destroying it. Netflix is far better than that. Am I right Netflix?”

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse co-director Peter Ramsey and  Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol director Brad Bird also criticised Netflix over the feature.

The variable playback feature allows users to play content from 0.5x the normal speed, up to 1.5x.

It is understood it is only being tested on Android mobile devices and Netflix has no plans to roll it out further.

A Netflix spokesperson said: “We’re always experimenting with new ways to help members use Netflix. This test makes it possible to vary the speed at which people watch shows on their mobiles.

“As with any test, it may not become a permanent feature on Netflix.”