- Video streaming service Netflix added mobile-focused previews for movies and TV series to its app. The trailers are about 30-seconds long and are vertically formatted to make watching them on a smartphone screen easier, according to a company blog post.
- The previews are shown like a slideshow that can be swiped to advance a preview card to the next selection. Viewers can tap a play button to watch a show immediately or add it to a list for later viewing. Netflix has created previews for several hundred shows and will add more over time, per Variety.
- Cameron Johnson, Netflix's director of product innovation, said in the blog post that mobile previews are formatted to load quickly on a wireless device and are personalized to a subscriber's tastes. The new preview feature is now available for iOS and will come to Android soon, he said in the post.
With mobile previews, Netflix is adopting a "stories" format that's popular among users of apps like Snapchat and Instagram. Instead of scrolling down through a feed of images, swiping side-to-side reveals a carousel of additional content in the format, letting users browse a continuous stream of content and click on the shows that pique their interest.
Netflix last year introduced a similar video preview system to its TV platform that aimed to tease its programming and compel users to tune in after watching a short preview. The previews are especially important for promoting Netflix's original programming. Netflix says its testing indicates that video previews help subscribers browse less and find new content more quickly, per the company.
Catering to mobile viewers is clearly important to Netflix as audiences continue to shift their media consumption away from traditional TV to digital and mobile devices. Earlier this year, the company introduced short-form content, such as 15-minute comedy specials, that can be consumed more quickly than typical half-hour sitcoms or feature films, per Variety. The idea behind this appears to bank on the idea that users might actually consume more content overall when it appears to be less of a time investment. While long-form viewing on mobile devices has become more popular as people upgrade to bigger screen "phablets" (large smartphones that are nearly tablet-sized), 47% of mobile video viewing time is spent on clips shorter than 20 minutes, per data from video platform Ooyala. In addition, 39% of viewing time consists of clips five minutes or shorter.