Netflix tests bite-sized video clips for brief mobile viewing

When Netflix subscribers use the service on their smartphone or tablet, the vast majority of those viewing sessions last 10 minutes or less. That's why Netflix is currently testing out short-form clips that give mobile users quick hits of their favorite TV shows, movies, and stand-up comedy shows while on the go.

If the tests are successful enough, the short clips will become a permanent part of Netflix's offerings on mobile, according to GigaOm. The clips are broken down into segments of two to five minutes each.

The new pilot project isn't meant to be a YouTube killer. In other words, don't expect to see SoulPancake or Geek and Sundry jump to Netflix anytime soon.

Instead, Netflix is cutting up bits from shows and films it already offers. Netflix is doing this, GigaOm reports, because mobile users are the largest growing segment of Netflix users right now--the majority are still on TV screens. But 87 percent of mobile users are watching for 10 minutes or less at a time.

Shorter clips, then, will better serve mobile users looking for a quick watch-and-go experience. But will they?

Netflix users turn to the streaming service to catch-up on their favorite TV shows or check out a movie. And because Netflix remembers where viewers left off, it doesn't really matter if they're watching a two-hour film or a 30-minute comedy. Subscribers can, in effect, create their own clips just by pressing pause and coming back later.

Nevertheless, Netflix says its tests of the short clips feature with a limited set of subscribers are getting a positive reaction.

To see if it's available for you, fire up Netflix on your smartphone or tablet and look for a section that says "Have five minutes?" or something similar.

If the short clips do make it as a regular feature, it will show up in the coming months after Netflix launches a refresh of its mobile apps.

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