As almost any insider will tell you, the future of online video is bite-sized. In a world where online video audiences are rapidly switching to mobile devices, smaller content is king. YouTube used to dominate the short-form game, the platform’s most successful videos are less than five minutes in length. Then along came Vine and proved that it was possible for creators to quickly build audiences in the millions with just a few seconds of video. In a mobile world where microviewing is the norm a platform like Netflix, who specializes in long form content is at a disadvantage. However, it seems that the streaming platform is testing a new way to compete.
According to a report in Gigaom, Netflix is experimenting with a new feature that would support 2-5 minute video clips ideal for mobile viewing. It may sound like a familiar formula, but Netflix isn’t looking to snatch YouTube’s crown as the king of user created content. The video clips will be snippets cut from Netflix’s huge existing library of content. Famous movie scenes, key moments from television shows and popular bits from stand-up comedy routines will all be up for grabs.
Netflix has already secured its reputation as a destination for binge watching; the company’s name is practically shorthand for “lazy night in.” The problem is that most of the company’s views still come from TV screens while other platforms get all the attention from mobile users on the go. As screen grow larger and watching content on mobile becomes more comfortable Netflix doesn’t want to be left behind.
The success of the new feature will likely depend a lot on how the content is offered to users. Netflix has a huge library of content to play with — chopping it up into bite-sized bits isn’t enough. But if Netflix wants to dig into its archives and deliver 3 minutes of iconic 90’s movie quotes, or five-minute refreshers to get me ready for the new season of my favorite shows, then I’m on board. If Netflix can get creative, it might just be able to take over our morning commute like it conquered our Friday nights.