Netflix Is Adding Snapchat-Like Vertical Video Previews For Shows And Movies

Barack and Michelle Obama 'in talks' to produce Netflix content
Video previews will soon move into your Netflix app’s home screen. Coming this April, they are 30-second samples of original and licensed shows, helping you decide what to watch next.  ( Pascal Le Segretain | Getty Images )

Netflix users will soon see video preview in the app to make picking what to watch easier. This April, the streaming service is going to roll out vertical videos complete with a timeline in the style of Snapchat or Instagram Stories.

The previews are 30-second samples of TV shows and films, not unlike the preview feature Netflix released as part of its TV interface several years ago. This marks the first time for any kind of vertical video system will ever come to Netflix mobile apps.

Netflix Video Previews

As Variety reports, the previews timeline will be located right within the home screen as circular thumbnails. Users can tap any of these icons to play the preview. Once in the preview screen, they can swipe through them to watch other previews as well. Again, it works exactly like the aforementioned Snapchat or Instagram Stories.

At launch, Netflix will make as much as 75 previews available at a time. Both original content and licensed shows will be included in the previews, according to Netflix. The company's video editing team in Los Angeles is working on properly cropping shows and films to fit into the vertical video format because they're traditionally widescreen, and there might be some problems in the conversion to a narrower aspect ratio.

Netflix Mobile App Improvements

Since around 20 percent of Netflix viewership occurs on mobile, it's only natural for the company to focus on how it can make the experience better and more efficient.

"We've put a lot of investment in mobile," said VP of product Todd Yellin. These include the ability to download shows for offline viewing and codec optimizations that allow high-resolution streaming even for low-speed connections.

Yellin said that video previews are one of the many features on Netflix that made it after rigorous testing. Some, however, were not as lucky. He cited the idea of adding more social features on the app, which the company experimented with over the years, but those didn't work.

Styling its video preview format akin to Snapchat and Instagram Stories is probably the most social Netflix is ever going to get, it seems. Perhaps avoiding social features is a good thing for Netflix because the focus should always be on great, compelling original content, not nice little bonuses that get in the way of what people are really subscribed for.

Watch out for video previews this April, Netflix users. It looks like this:

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