Netflix Revamping Apps for Vertical Video, TV Production Processes

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LOS GATOS, Calif. – Netflix is revamping its mobile applications to feature vertical video previews of its programming. The 30-second video previews will launch in April, with around 75 available at launch, reports Variety.

Netflix’s vertical video previews will differ from full episodes of its programming, which are still in horizontal format. Netflix hopes viewers will watch the preview and save it for later viewing.

Insiders say that because it emphases premium long-form entertainment content, Netflix was an unlikely company to embrace vertical video (only about 20 percent of the service’s viewership is on mobile, with most viewers tuning in on connected TV devices). But the fast rise of vertical video on mobile is causing everyone from advertisers to tech giants to play catch-up.

Snapchat is considered a trailblazer in vertical video, and Facebook and Instagram have followed that lead. 

Last November, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released best practices for vertical video, hoping to spur innovation from the advertising community.

Consumers may not watch hour-long dramas vertically on their mobile devices, but the IAB report noted that 90 percent of mobile screen time is spent in portrait mode, which includes consumption of video content.

Netflix also reports it is creating apps to help streamline TV and film production processes related to crew management, scheduling, and budgeting, Variety reports. One of these apps, dubbed Move, has been in beta at the company since last November.

Move, which is available as both a mobile and web service, integrates with email and SMS to notify crewmembers of scheduling changes. What’s more, it sends scripts to everyone involved in a particular scene and generates daily wrap reports. The app, which may replace the piles of paperwork that crews typically rely on, was first piloted during production of the second season of Netflix’s hit women’s wrestling comedy, Glow, in November. It has since been used on 10 other productions.

More apps may be coming. Netflix is reportedly working on similar projects – a fleet that frequently collaborates with the engineers that are building its consumer-facing apps. Netflix ultimately hopes that the apps will be used by tens of thousands of people on production teams including its own crews as well as third-party programmers.

Also, USA Today reports Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is eyeing more steady growth for his company’s total streaming revenue in 2018. Hastings predicts Netflix will pull in $15 billion in streaming revenue this year after totaling $11 billion in 2017.

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