In another move to cement its bonds with its huge existing subscriber base, and perhaps lure some holdouts to its streaming service, Netflix has launched a feature for mobile apps that offers humorous clips from its stand-up comedy specials, TV series and movies.
The new Fast Laughs feature is currently available for iPhones in English-speaking countries including the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia. Netflix said it will start testing an Android version later in 2021.
Like TikTok, Fast Laughs shows clips in full-screen vertical mode in an auto-playing feed, and enables sharing clips via social media. But to view Fast Laughs clips in Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat or Apple’s iMessage, recipients must watch within the Netflix app and so must, like the sender, be Netflix subscribers, according to Variety.
Rather than trying to compete with TikTok and similar apps, Netflix said it considers Fast Laughs an extension or value-added feature designed to aid content discovery.
However, it should also serve to help the SVOD grab a greater share of the growing amounts of time consumers now spend watching short-form videos on mobile.
feature (see teaser video below) will offer up to 100 clips per day from Netflix’s original comedy catalog, including movies (Adam Sandler’s “Murder Mystery,” Amy
Poehler’s “Moxie”); TV shows (“Big Mouth,” “Never Have I Ever”), and stand-up specials featuring Jerry Seinfeld, Ali Wong and Kevin Hart, among others.
Importantly, Fast Laughs also lets users add full originals to their Netflix watch lists, or start watching them immediately.
“We wanted to give members a fun, fast and intuitive way to discover our catalog by letting these comedic moments across genres speak for themselves in a mobile-native, full-screen experience,” Netflix said. “We worked hard to cut to just what was necessary in an intentional and minimalist UI design, from the transparent tab bar to ways to react in the moment (‘LOL’) and plan their next laugh by adding to their list.” (The LOL button triggers a crying-from-laughter emoji.)
The feature has been given prominent placement in the Netflix app, "where it’s accessible from the bottom navigation menu on its own tab, next to 'Coming Soon,'" notes Techcrunch. "This is no small experiment, then — but rather an indication of how successful the early tests of the Fast Laughs feature must have been in terms of engaging users and connecting them to Netflix content."
Fast Laughs is not available in Netflix kids’ profiles, and users can filter content using maturity rating settings.
Netflix reported having nearly 204 million subscribers worldwide as of year-end 2020.