Netflix tests an ‘audio only’ mode to listen to its catalog in the background as if it were a podcast
One of the latest tests of Netflix on its platform is to allow playing audio only in the background. This functionality allows users to simply listen to a Netflix series, movie, or other type of program while performing other actions on the device or simply not paying attention to the screen. The strong point of podcasts and audiobooks, precisely two types of content with which Netflix competes.
The new functionality to play audio only has appeared in the latest version of the Android app. According to XDA Developers, the code snippets reveal an option to listen to audio only in the background. A functionality that in addition to allowing other tasks to be carried out while on the device, saves on data consumption by not loading the video. Two phrases appear in the code that define very well these ideas of saving data and combining playback with other tasks:
“Save data by turning off the video and listening to your favorite shows.” “The video is off, but you can keep listening to your show while you’re busy doing other things.”
This new feature for now It has only appeared for some users and is in testing. This means that it may reach everyone or we may never hear from it again. Netflix usually does this type of experiment before implementing a function, as happened with playback at a higher speed for example.
Netflix’s real competition: everything the user does in their free time
Now, why just listen to a show, series or movie instead of watching it too? It all depends on the type of content in question. There is content on Netflix that visually often adds nothing, such as comedy monologues. As they indicate from Protocol, there is also content that is simply readings and the most sense they make is by audio.
On the other hand also it depends on the use and preferences of each user. I would be lying if I said that I have never left a series in the background on my computer while doing other tasks. Also, who hasn’t watched a movie or series with their eyes most of the time on their smartphone and only listening in the background?
However, where more sense can be found in this functionality is in the purpose and objective of Netflix. On more than one occasion, its executives have commented that they do not compete as much with HBO or Prime Video as with Instagram or video games. And this is totally true, where they have to win over the user is in the free time they spend on entertainment. Some do it with streaming platforms, but many do it on social networks or video games among other fields. An audio-only format can encourage more users to spend part of their time on Netflix, rather than for example listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks.