Netflix Expanding Global Mobile Strategy

Netflix is set launch mobile access in Spain next week as part of an existing deal with Telefónica, the Madrid-based multinational telecom. The SVOD pioneer and Telefónica rolled out a similar promotion in Brazil affording subscribers direct access to content.

The strategy is aimed at growing Netflix’s global subscriber count targeting the service’s least-used distribution channel: mobile. Indeed, 70% of Netflix programming is streamed through the television – a percentage that undermines the service’s attempt to create a larger global subscriber footprint in regions with heavy mobile platform use such as India.

In June, Netflix inked a deal with Vodafone affording the telecom’s Indian postpaid subs one year of free Netflix access. That promotion is aimed at telecom rival Airtel’s pact with Amazon Prime Video.

Netflix, which has similar Vodafone agreements in New Zealand and Australia, is currently offering one-year of free service to T-Mobile subscribers in the United States.

The promotions are part of a concerted effort to raise mobile streaming of Netflix content. In 2016 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Netflix revealed 50% of its users accessed the service on their smartphone, yet only 10% actually streamed content.

“Behavior on mobile is different,” Scott Meyer, VP of Netflix’s device partner ecosystem, said at the time. “We’re just starting to learn about this.”

Flash forward two years and Netflix thinks subs are apparently willing to stream full-length feature films – not just TV shows – on their smartphone, according CCO Ted Sarandos.

Speaking Dec. 6 at Variety’s Dealmaker’s confab, Sarandos touted Netflix’s original feature film Roma as content subscribers would willingly access on their phone.

When questioned about the likelihood someone would actually stream director Alfonso Cuaron’s two-plus hour, black-and-white semi-autobiographical movie on a phone, Sarandos said his 22-year-old son, a film school student, does just that.

“He’s only seen Laurence of Arabia on his phone,” said Sarandos. “He thinks it’s one of the great movies of all time.”

Netflix screened Roma in select theaters exclusively to appease industry awards such as the Golden Globes and Oscars, but Sarandos is well-known for challenging the industry’s 90-day theatrical window, claiming more people would watch movies if offered concurrently via streaming channels.

“Most people see most movies that change their lives at home,” said Sarandos.

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