Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) puts a lot of effort into its user experience. Among other things, it regularly tweaks its interface based on consumer feedback, and recently, it even gave in to a common customer request and began to make some shows available offline.
Now, the streaming leader has revealed to reporters that it's considering optimizing its original content for the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets. At a press event first reported on by The Verge, Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt told journalists that the company was looking at ways to better serve its growing mobile audience.
"It's not inconceivable that you could take a master [copy] and make a different cut for mobile," Hunt said. To date, Netflix hasn't been delivering different cuts for different viewing platforms, Hunt said, but "it's something we will explore over the next few years."
In theory, these edits would use alternate shots in some cases that can be seen better on a smaller screen. The practice, should Netflix adopt it, would not be all that different from the formatting changes often referenced when some movies air on TV. It's just the company creating a version of the content that works better on the screen it's going to be viewed on.
This is subtle, but smart
The rise of unlimited mobile data plans in the United States has combined with the growth of Netflix around the world to change viewing patterns. Americans and Canadians still watch Netflix mostly on TVs, according to Hunt, but in parts of Asia, most notably India, "mobile screens are the majority consumption device."
Netflix isn't looking at major changes to its content. It won't alter plots, edit out racy content, or do anything else that changes the integrity of its shows. This isn't George Lucas' endless tinkering with Star Wars. Instead, it's simply making the best use of its intellectual property by creating cuts of its shows that are more suited to being viewed on smaller screens.
These are probably not even changes that most people would notice, but they might subtly lead to stronger enjoyment of the company's content. That's a smart investment in preserving customer loyalty, even if customers don't actually know it's happening.
10 stocks we like better than Netflix
When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*
David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Netflix wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.
Click here to learn about these picks!
*Stock Advisor returns as of February 6, 2017
Daniel Kline has no position in any stocks mentioned.