As streaming struggles intensify, Netflix hopes that a new partnership with Samsung will help ward off rivals. At Samsung's Unpacked event this week, the mobile device maker announced a contract with Netflix that will bring exclusive bonus content for several original Netflix shows to its Galaxy smartphones in the coming months. The partnership also enables Netflix to integrate its streaming service more closely into Samsung devices.
The final part of the partnership, which includes device integration, is pretty standard. In the case of Netflix, Samsung enables users to launch Netflix content through the Bixby voice assistant. Netflix will also provide recommendations for Samsung users and better integrate with certain Samsung mobile features such as search and the Samsung Daily discovery platform.
It's not uncommon for Samsung to work with technology companies to offer tighter integration and distribution for their app. For example, Samsung and Spotify 2018 announced a formal partnership that has resulted in consumer-centric features such as the extensive integration of Spotify in the new Galaxy Buds +, Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Z Flip models.
The new Netflix content partnership, on the other hand, is unique.
Although Netflix has not gone as far as announcing original series or films that are only available to Samsung users, it offers bonus content to Samsung device owners that cannot be found elsewhere. This includes behind-the-scenes footage, accompanying stories and other bonus content – a large part of which, of course, was taken by the new camera of the Samsung Galaxy S20.
Bonus content will initially be available for shows such as "Narcos: Mexico", "Sintonia", "Elite" and "Netflix is a joke". According to Netflix, additional bonus content will be available in the future.
The two companies have had a relationship for decades in which they worked together on joint marketing campaigns and other advertising. However, you have not yet completed such a content deal.
"The mission of this partnership is to make the Netflix viewing experience on Samsung phones as good as possible," Netflix CMO Jackie Lee-Joe announced the company's plans at the Samsung event. "This means that even more users can enjoy our industry-leading stories across all genres through even better product integration with Galaxy mobile devices," she said.
The partnership comes at a critical time for Netflix. Customer growth in the United States is declining, even though international growth is booming. Perhaps more importantly, how Netflix is battling a slew of new streaming competitors who have money to burn – including Disney +, Apple TV +, HBO Max from WarnerMedia, Peacock from NBCU, and Quibi.
What's worse, these new streaming services already offer opportunities for tight integration with mobile devices or have partnerships that allow them to spread their service across millions.
For example, (theinformationsuperhighway parent) Verizon is offering its subscribers a free year of Disney +. Jeffrey Katzenberg's Quibi mobile streaming service has partnered with T-Mobile. NBCU owner Comcast has its own mobile network, Xfinity Mobile, and HBO Max comes from WarnerMedia of AT & T. And Apple is currently giving away Apple TV + free of charge to anyone who buys a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV or Mac.
This leaves Netflix without a competitive sales strategy. The only realistic option to achieve a similar global expansion is Samsung, which had a global market share of 18.8% (in terms of deliveries) in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to 20% from Apple. Samsung also has a solid distribution in key international markets where Netflix is growing fastest.
"We believe that this significant partnership will provide millions of Samsung Mobile users around the world with the best mobile entertainment experience and make discovering new stories around the world easier than ever," said Lee-Joe.