Update: After entertaining rumors on the subject, Netflix has officially announced its plan to allow worldwide users to download content for offline viewing. The Netflix mobile app has already implemented the feature in accordance with a number of (though not all) its available series and films; the list includes, but is not limited to, Netflix’s swath of original properties. As reported first by Variety, the company intends to expand the opportunity further in regard to downloadable content, though there is yet no mention of whether or not the feature will be added to Netflix’s PC variant. If you have the Netflix App installed to your mobile phone and tablet, you now can peruse a full list of programs and films presently available for download.
Netflix, the streaming service that has an unbelievable 86 million members according to the company’s overview, has been working off a “thesis” that downloading and viewing their content offline isn’t a necessary option for subscribers since internet access is so ubiquitous. But now that the media giant is entering more emerging markets, that thesis is being challenged, and downloading content for offline viewing may soon be a reality. Although probably not for anybody who lives in the U.S. or other developed nations.
According to a recent interview Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos had with CNBC, which was connected to Netflix’s new series titled The Crown and comes via Buzzfeed, the streaming service is considering the allowance of offline viewing to accommodate subscribers who don’t have reliable internet access. “As we’ve launched in more territories recently,” Sarandos told CNBC, “they all have different levels of broadband speed and Wi-Fi access, so in those countries, they’ve adapted their behavior to be much more of a downloading culture.” In response to this reality, Sarandos said “in those emerging territories, it [downloading content for offline viewing] starts to become a little more interesting.”
But before you get your hopes up that you’ll be able to watch Stranger Things or Luke Cage while you’re in a strange place or… stuck in a cage(?) without Wi-Fi, note that Sarandos added that “we still think for the developed world, our thesis has been true.” Ergo, if offline streaming does come to the U.S. at all, it’s probably not going to be a priority.
But considering a massive portion of Netflix’s total subscriber base is in the U.S., if that community continues to vocalize a strong desire for viewing content offline, then maybe it’ll be able to catch up with that of the developing world.
What do you think about Netflix allowing subscribers to view content offline? Do you think it makes sense to only apply the practice to emerging markets where internet access is less reliable? Stream us your thoughts in the comments below!
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