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Netflix reportedly eyeing mobile-optimized versions of its original series

Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt said the company would explore the possibility of dedicated mobile cuts over the next few years.

Published onMarch 16, 2017

Netflix is considering producing dedicated cuts of its original series specifically for a mobile experience, according to a report from The Verge.

In a briefing with journalists in San Francisco yesterday, Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt said, “It’s not inconceivable that you could take a master [copy] and make a different cut for mobile,” and that it was something Netflix would “explore over the next few years.”

Seemingly, this would mean that certain scenes or shots could be altered to better suit a small screen mobile experience. This could be applied when a character looks at a letter, for example, or something in the distance — occasions when something would usually be more clearly visible on a TV screen or monitor than a handheld device.

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This is not a common practice in the world of TV and movies: it would require time and resources, and perhaps additional planning and coverage in principle photography — it could be a significant investment for an almost imperceptible benefit (admittedly something Netflix would investigate before diving in).

That said, movies released in the theatres are different from those released on Blu-Ray because they are meant for different formats. Websites have mobile versions for better usability. Watching media on a smartphone is a very different audio and visual experience compared to TV or laptop — and I would argue that it’s invariably a much worse one — so I’m keen to see how Netflix might try to improve it.

What are your thoughts on this idea? Let us know in the comments.