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By Alex WeprinJ. Clara Chan July 21, pm.

Going mobile: netflix wants to be the everything app

Despite its reputation as the king of subscription streaming video, Netflix understands it has never had the dominance on mobile devices that it has on TV screens. When a subscriber plops down on the couch and opens the Netflix app on their TV, they are welcomed with an array of content the service thinks they will want to binge-watch.

User time is not infinite — they can only be looking at one screen at a time — and Netflix wants to gobble up as much of that time as possible. And the vast majority of our members have phones that are capable of a great gameplay experience, which sort of checks all of those boxes. When a subscriber opens their Netflix app on their iPhone, the company wants to serve them a mobile-first menu of content options that rivals the movies and TV shows it features prominently on the TV glass.

Mobile is inherently a different beast than TV. In other words, a fresh mobile experience, led by games, might be just the thing to keep Netflix growing in markets like North America where its subscription levels are nearing saturation, and making the service an even better value for its users. Just as Netflix offers mobile-only tiers in some countries, games and other formats could expand that experimentation further.

And the app has no advertising or add-ons, both of which are common in the gaming space but an annoyance to users. The company agrees.

But it is also a major risk for Netflix, which for years has been a Wall Street darling thanks to its insatiable growth. Games are expensive and complex, and there remain real questions about how it plans to deliver those games to consumers will they stream, or require downlo?

Even video game publishers like Activision, EA, Take-Two, Ubisoft and Nintendo have tried for years to create compelling mobile content, and each has had lasting success only through acquisition. Of course an acquisition would not be out of the question for Netflix.

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