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Netflix may add shorter video clips to boost mobile usage

Netflix design manager Dantley Davis revealed last week that the video-streaming service is contemplating whether to integrate shorter video clips into its catalog to account for the rising number of users of the company’s mobile app.

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The company is currently running tests to determine users’ interest levels in short-form videos, according to Gigaom. At an event at Netflix’s headquarters in Los Gatos, CA., Davis explained that while Netflix users tend to stick to the traditional couch-and-TV method when using the service, Netflix’s mobile app is seeing growth rapid enough to warrant a new approach to mobile video consumption. Davis attributed this in part to changes in smartphone screen size over time; i.e. screens are getting huge.

Still, while the average mobile screen has gotten larger in recent years, it’s a pain to watch a full-length film on a phone or small tablet. Accordingly, Netflix has concluded that shorter videos may be one way to get users to not only download and use the mobile app in the first place, but to stay on the app and continue to use it.

The new format could come in the form of key scenes from TV shows, brief excerpts from feature-length films, or highlights from standup comedy specials. As part of a test that the service is undertaking, Netflix has added an extra row, titled “Have five minutes?” to its familiar homepage content grid.

Online streaming site Crackle recently implemented a similar experiment, breaking comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s already short Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee original series into an even shorter add-on format, called Single Shots. Professionally-produced short form videos are positioned as a perfect burst of entertainment for bored mobile users waiting for the bus, or languishing in that morning coffee line.

Related: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee returns for fourth season

While Netflix hasn’t confirmed whether it intends to permanently implement the shorter clips, Davis did reveal last week that the tests run so far have yielded “very positive results.” This means that the company very well could end up making short-form video a mainstay feature when it relaunches its mobile app in the coming months.

[image: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com]