As Netflix continues to grow its user base, it is also facing growing competition from new and existing streaming services. But the company is happy to experiment, and the latest idea being tested is a cheaper, mobile-only subscription option.
Before mobile-focused streamers start getting excited, note that this is just an experiment and one limited to Malaysia for now. It’s also quite restricted. As Quartz reports, for the equivalent of $4 per month, it’s possible to stream Netflix to any smartphone or tablet. It’s not possible to stream to other devices such as a TV, although someone is bound to come up with a workaround.
The other big restriction is on stream quality, with the mobile plan only allowing for standard definition streams. That should be enough to turn most people off trying to hook up a TV, but it could also prove to be a limit too far for consumers who expect HD content on their HD resolution phone displays.
Netflix states this is a test “to understand consumer interest in a mobile-only plan in some countries.” It’s also clearly an attempt to better compete with alternative services that cost far less than Netflix’s typical $8-$10 subscription plans. Bringing a mobile plan to the US and Europe seems unlikely, especially with that standard definition limit in place, but that could change if mobile streaming continues to grow in popularity.
Experimenting with access and price to boost growth in new markets is also a reminder that eventually which streaming service users choose will come down to content. Prices should continue to fall with growing competition, but they will reach a hard bottom (or there will be free, ad-supported options) and at that point the question becomes “which service has the shows and movies I want to watch?”
This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.
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