In online streaming giant Netflix’s Q1 earnings call, Chief Product Officer Greg Peters reportedly told investors and journalists that while the company dominates in the streaming services market, it isn’t the leading choice for entertainment when it comes to people using their phones.
“I think the most important headline message [is] how much time we don’t win on the mobile experience,” he said. About 97.5 percent of the time “around the world, people are using other different entertainment services, other ways to enjoy their time on their mobile phone.”
Peters believes that mobile can be a way for the company to add subscribers and said he wants the company to leverage its existing relationships to make that happen.
“It’s a great place for folks to find out about Netflix, to sign up for the service, even if they’re signing up for the service on mobile and then they’re watching on other devices like the TV, which we see as a common paradigm,” he added.
“It works really well with our partners, because whether it’s handset partners, which we can work to sort of preload our application on, or actually the mobile operators, which we can work on increasingly doing things like bundling Netflix as part of their standard offering, which you see us doing more and more around the world.”
Netflix expects growth in its home market – the United States – to slow; after adding around 1.75 million subscribers in the US in Q1, it forecasted closing Q2 only have added 300,000 more, due to increased churn after its recent hike in prices.
While the eventual launch of 5G mobile internet in the US – and other parts of the world – should herald an increase in subscribers for the company as it will facilitate faster and more reliable streaming for millions of customers.
There’s nothing more irritating that paying for a stream and then waiting hours for it to buffer or being forced to watch in standard definition because your bandwidth just isn’t big enough. Watching streaming video on a smartphone without Wi-Fi can be very frustrating at the moment.
In the meantime, there are other avenues that Netflix can pursue in its attempt to break into the mobile market. For example, it could make more deals like its current partnership with T-Mobile, where the wireless carrier actually pays for its customers to get the streaming service.
It seems very likely that other carriers around the world might be interested in bundling the streaming service with their mobile plans and/or using it as a carrot to dangle when trying to encourage customers to sign up to their services.
Netflix has also recently been testing a new US$3.63 mobile-only subscription plan in select countries. In India, the only test country that the notoriously private company was willing to divulge to the press, that’s half the cost of Netflix’s basic streaming plan, which covers all devices.