Late last year, Netflix began experimenting with a new tic-tac-toe feed of funny videos within its mobile app, calling it “Fast Smile.” Today, the company announced that the new feature now rolled out to iOS, allowing users to view, respond to or share short clips as well as add shows or movies to Netflix watchlist.
You can press the “Play” button to start watching the program immediately. Upon launch, the feature will include short clips from Netflix’s comedy catalog, such as “Murder Misty,” series “sitcom” like “Big Face”, “Crew,” and snippets of stand-up comedians like Kevin Hart and Ali. Netflix has confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature will tap into its entire catalog, not just its own programs. However, the company cannot say how the total number of shows or movies will displayed in the new experience at any given time.
The feature, significantly, assigned a prominent place in the Netflix application, where it is accessible from the bottom navigation menu in its own tab next to “Coming Soon”. This is no small test then – but the initial tests of the “Fast Smile” feature are certainly an indication of how successful they have been in attracting users and integrating them into Netflix content. “Fast Smile” is not the first time Netflix has borrowed ideas from social media to help users discover new shows or movies in its app. A few years ago, Netflix introduced its own short-form video “story” feature, for example, Previews.
However, times have changed. Now users draw on short-form vertical video feeds like the popular ones on TikTok. “Fast Smile” has taken a lot of borrows from the TikTok format, as its feed contains full-screen videos that you can swipe vertically and place the engagement buttons on the right side of the screen. These buttons allow you to respond to a clip with an “LL” (crying / laughing) emoji or share via iMessage or other social media applications, such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter. You can start watching the show right away or save it for later viewing by adding it to “My List”.
At the time of the test, the length of “Fast Laughs” clips ranged from 15 to 45 seconds anywhere. Today, Netflix says there are no exact clip lengths for these video snippets. The content of the clips may not be appropriate for children, so the “Fast Laughs” tab will not appear on Netflix children’s profiles. In addition, members will be able to filter the content based on their own settings for the maturity rating level. The company is positioning the feature as a tool of discovery.
Netflix product designer Kim Ho said, “Previously we worked to give members a fun, fast and intuitive way to discover our catalog by talking to them about a variety of funny moments in this genre in a mobile-native and full-screen experience.” In addition, products design on coins. “We’ve worked hard to cut out just what is needed in a deliberate and minimal UI design, a way to respond in moments (‘LOL’) from the transparent tab bar and plan the next laugh by adding them to the list,” he added.
While the focus is on finding new things to watch “Fast Smile”, the feature can help compete with TikTok in terms of time spent on Netflix mobile devices, as it increases the growing demand for more “breakfast” video content. Netflix says the feature is now moving to iOS and will begin testing on Android in the next few months.