Amazon recently delighted its iOS-toting users by allowing offline viewing of Prime Instant Video movies and television shows, but don’t count on Netflix offering the same feature anytime soon.
Gizmodo reached out to Netflix and asked the company why it won’t change its firm stance that it’s not going to offer offline downloads through its mobile applications and the official company line is eyebrow-raising.
The streaming entertainment company apparently doesn’t think its users are tech-savy enough to handle the complexity the added choice will bring.
“I think it’s something that lots of people ask for. We’ll see if it’s something lots of people will use,” said Neil Hunt, Netflix’s Chief Product Officer.
“I still don’t think it’s a very compelling proposition,” he continued. Hunt has even coined the term for this, he’s calling it the “Paradox of Choice”.
“One of the things I’ve learned is that every time you offer a choice, you paralyse some people who can’t decide if that’s what they want to do or not,” his lukewarm response has it. “Now, that sounds really stupid and self-serving, but it is in fact true.”
And in what files as the most knee-jerk reaction to Amazon’s decision to allow offline playback in its iOS application, Hunt calls Amazon’s move a feature that adds “considerable complexity to your life with Amazon Prime”.
And why is that?
Because people have to remember that they want to download a movie.
“It’s not going to be instant, you have to have the right storage on your device, you have to manage it, and I’m just not sure people are actually that compelled to do that, and that it’s worth providing that level of complexity,” he said.
Instead of allowing offline playback, Hunt is proposing putting rack boxes with Netflix content in airplane servers or some such to make Netflix “work on a plane, can we make it work on a train and in hotels.”
Either Netflix is underestimating the intelligence of its users or the company is short on convincing responses. Either way, holding out on offline payback is only going to make it more painful to realize that customers are demanding it.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to enjoy their entertainment without an Internet connection?
Truth be told, content owners don’t allow Amazon to just make any video available for offline playback. And if some content isn’t licensed for download, non-techies are most likely to be confused as to why this is so.