Netflix is testing out a new subscription in an effort to compete with other streaming services, PC Mag reports. The streaming giant is experimenting with a new mobile-only subscription option that clocks in at just $4 per month.
Before you get too hyped, it's worth nothing that for now, the option is limited to just Malaysia and has a few restrictions in place. While users will be able to stream Netflix to any smartphone or tablet, it's not possible to stream to devices like a television.
Additionally, stream quality will take a hit, as the new plan only allows for standard definition streams, which could be a problem for customers who have grown accustomed to high-definition content on their phone displays.
Netflix says the new option is a test to "understand consumer interest in a mobile-only plan in some countries."
"Generally, we try out lots of new ideas at any given time, and they can vary in how long they last and who sees them. We may not ever roll out the features or elements included in a test," Netflix added in a statement to Quartz.
It is unlikely to test it in the United States, where it already dominates; even with 137 million subscribers, Netflix falls behind in Asia, where it has to compete with less expensive alternatives. As the streaming giant generally costs between $8-$10 a month worldwide, services like YouTube are free, and there are other services still — such as Viu, India's Hotstar and HOOQ — that charge less than Netflix.
The company is also trying to attract new subscribers in Asia through its programming. They've recently announced plans to film eight original movies and a new series for Netflix India, as well as 17 original movies from other parts of Asia.
Netflix has been testing other features too, this time to the chagrin of many loyal users. Over the summer, many users complained that the service was giving them ads for other Netflix programs with no way to skip the advertisements.
Reactions to the ads began piling up on Reddit, with many very upset about the prospect of ads being introduced to the streaming giant.
In response to the outrage, Netflix said the commercials weren't permanent — just a test. They also claimed that the ads did show an option to skip and that users were able to move pas them by clicking a button.
"We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster," a Netflix representative said. "A couple of years ago, we introduced video prviews to the TV experience, because we saw that it significantly cut the time members spend browsing and helped them find something they would enjoy watching even faster."
Since the time the ads were first reported in August, chatter about them seems to have died down.