Blog Post

Netflix may add short-form content to increase mobile usage

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Netflix has always been all about TV shows and movies, but soon, it could feature a lot of shorter clips as well: The company is considering adding two- to five-minute-long clips to its catalog to give its growing number of mobile users some bite-sized content to watch, design manager Dantley Davis revealed during an event at Netflix’s Los Gatos headquarters Thursday.

However, [company]Netflix[/company] isn’t looking to take on [company]YouTube[/company] with webisodes and user-generated content. Instead, it may serve up key scenes from TV shows, short snippets of movies and little bits from comedy stand-up specials, all taken out of the catalog of shows and movies Netflix already has.

Netflix is testing this type of content on mobile now, said Davis. One of the tests the company is currently running adds an extra row of content titled “Have five minutes?” to the home screen of Netflix’s existing mobile app. The company may add short-form content as a permanent feature when it relaunches its mobile apps in the coming months, depending on the outcome of these tests. Davis said that these tests have so far shown “very positive results.”

Davis said Thursday that most Netflix content is still watched on TV screens, but that mobile is seeing the biggest growth, in part because of the way phones have been changing. “As screen sizes are becoming bigger, watching content on phones becomes more natural,” he said.

That development prompted Netflix to take mobile more seriously, and while researching the space, Netflix’s designers came upon an unexpected challenge: 87 percent of all mobile sessions last less than ten minutes — but Netflix didn’t have any content that was less than ten minutes long. That’s why the company decided to experiment with shorter-form content.

It’s worth noting that Netflix tests all kinds of things all the time, and some of these tests never actually turn into real products. However, branching out into shorter-form content makes a whole lot of sense for Netflix, particularly as the company is looking to get more traction on mobile. Davis added Thursday that improving the mobile experience could also be key to Netflix’s international expansion plans.

Short clips could also be a great enhancement to a feature Netflix launched earlier this week: The company now lets users privately share and recommend videos to their friends on the service, which makes a lot more sense with a five-minute clip than with a 90-minute movie.

4 Responses to “Netflix may add short-form content to increase mobile usage”

  1. Janko – I know you’re bearish on #SocialTV but you may want to check out our new report. My experience includes 15+ years of video & TV tech success – and I’ve never seen anything like what’s happening today with smartphone mobile. It’s driving completely different creation & viewing & searching & sharing behaviors. The big screen won’t go away – but mobile is shaping new content and new growth at a massive scale that has simply never existed before. Keep in mind: It’s not a 2nd screen, it’s our second brain. Check out the free deck here:

  2. Sports highlights are short and popular, late-night talk shows are usually segmented..
    Just showing scenes from movies or TV shows is forcing it and a bad idea but they could make 3 mins movie reviews.
    Difficult to find things that will do outside of content created for the scope.
    They could make (if someone ends up doing this ,i want a cut :p) a searchable library of clips with significant quotes and maybe even scenes from movies and TVs and allow even non-subscribers to view them. We don’t have that kind of service , to share just a scene with people over IM or on social media. Sure you can find some on youtube or elsewhere but few and it’s complicated. At least i’m not aware of such a service.