As Netflix tries to grow subscriber numbers outside of the United States, TechCrunch reports today that the streaming video company is testing out a subscription model where users are only able to watch on a phone or a tablet. With this stipulation, the cost of Netflix is cut by as much as 50 percent from the “Basic” tier, down to around $4/month from $8/month.
Right now, the test appears to be centered in Malaysia, but earlier in the week Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told Bloomberg that the company plans to test numerous lower-price plans throughout Asia. A Netflix spokesperson speaking to TechCrunch confirmed that similar mobile-only trials are “running in a few countries.”
For the mobile-only option, users can only watch shows in SD, and if they ever want to watch Netflix on a laptop or television, they’ll have to upgrade their plan. Like many companies, Netflix is always testing out new features and updates to its service, so it’s unclear if mobile-only options will grow beyond trials and enter countries where Netflix is already popular, like the United States.
As of now, Netflix offers three subscription tiers: Basic, Standard, and Premium. Basic costs $7.99/month, offers one screen to stream content on at a time, and only in SD. Standard upgrades this by offering two simultaneous streams in HD for $10.99/month, while Premium has the most simultaneous streams on offer at four, as well as HD and Ultra HD content, all for $13.99/month. One year ago Netflix increased the price of its Standard and Premium tiers, which previously cost $9.99 and $11.99 respectively.