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Netflix considers mobile specific versions of original content

Netflix may make it even easier for its subscribers using iPhones to follow its original content in the future, an executive for the streaming service has revealed, advising that the firm is currently exploring the possibility of making mobile device-specific versions of its shows.




Due to having a smaller screen compared to a television or a notebook, the framing of some shots are sometimes harder to see on smartphones, making the experience less immersive or difficult to follow visually. A second version of the same show, possibly using alternate shots or different cropping, could help alleviate this issue for mobile users, while still keeping the rest of the content's components intact, such as speech and pacing.

Chief product officer Neil Hunt told The Verge the company is looking into using a different or reframed shots for content due to the increased usage of mobile devices to view the platform's shows and films.

"It's not inconceivable that you could take a master and make a different cut for mobile," said Hunt. While Netflix has yet to offer different cuts of content to its users as yet, Hunt said "it's something we will explore over the next few years."

Hunt's remarks were made during a two-day event at Dolby Laboratories and Netflix's headquarters in preparation for the release of Iron Fist, a new Netflix show that will be available to subscribers on Friday. Also during the event, executives from both companies talked about high dynamic range (HDR) content, and how it could help improve the experience for mobile users, as well as those with compatible televisions.

A mobile-friendly cut of content is not the only way Netflix is working to make its service more accessible to those with smaller screens. During Mobile World Congress, it demonstrated a "Dynamic Optimizer" that analyzes video to compress it as much as possible, while retaining the picture quality, in order to provide those with slower broadband or cellular connections a better quality of video stream.

In December last year, Netflix expanded its encoding capabilities with "chunk analysis," analyzing minutes of material to optimize the compression further, in order to minimize the amount of storage used for Netflix's offline mode.