Late last year, Netflix began experimenting with a new TikTok-like feed of funny videos inside its mobile app, which it called “Fast Laughs.” Today, the company announced the new feature is now rolling out on iOS, allowing users to watch, react, or share the short clips as well as add the show or movie to a Netflix watchlist. You can also push the “Play” button to start watching the program immediately.
At launch, the feature will include short clips from Netflix’s comedy catalog, including films like “Murder Mystery,” series like “Big Mouth,” sitcoms like “The Crew,” as well as snippets from stand-up comedians like Kevin Hart and Ali Wong.
Netflix confirmed to TechCrunch the feature will tap into its full catalog, not just its own original programs. However, the company couldn’t says how many total shows or movies would be featured in the new experience at any given time.
The feature, notably, 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.” 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 the first time Netflix has borrowed concepts from social media to help users discover new shows or movies to watch in its app. A few years ago, Netflix introduced its own short-form video “Stories” feature, called Previews, for example. But times have changed. Now users are drawn to short-form vertical video feeds, like those popularized by TikTok.
“Fast Laughs” heavily borrows from the TikTok format, as its feed also features full-screen videos that you can swipe through vertically, and places the engagement buttons on the right side of the screen. These buttons let you react to the clip with an “LOL” (crying/laughing) emoji or share it via iMessage or other social media apps, like WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter. You can also start watching the show immediately or save it for later viewing by adding it to “My List.”
During tests, “Fast Laughs” clips ranged in length anywhere from 15 to 45 seconds. Today, Netflix says there’s no exact clip length for these video snippets.
Because the clips’ content may not be appropriate for children, the “Fast Laughs” tab won’t appear on Netflix kids’ profiles. In addition, members will be able to filter the content based on their own settings for maturity rating levels.
The company is positioning the feature as a discovery tool.
“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,” said Netflix Product Designer Kim Ho, who previously worked on product design at Facebook, Instacart, and Coin. “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,” she added.
But though “Fast Laughs” is focused on finding new things to watch, the feature could, in fact, help Netflix compete with TikTok in terms of time spent on mobile devices, as it caters to the growing demand for shorter, more “snackable” video content.
Netflix says the feature is rolling out now to iOS and will begin testing on Android in the months to come.
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