Video-streaming company Netflix seems to be secretly developing a feature that would permit subscribers to download specific television shows and movies for viewing without an Internet connection, industry insider and Penthera COO Dan Taitz told LightReading. Offline viewing on Netflix should launch before the end of this year. A Netflix spokesperson denied comment on the report.
“We know from our sources within the industry that Netflix is going to launch this product,” said . “My expectation is that by the end of the year Netflix will be launching download-to-go as an option for their customers”.
Frost & Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn corroborated the rumor, saying that “It’s a natural progression for Netflix to want to have some of their content available for consumers to watch offline.” He added analysts have been hearing about it for months and reaffirmed that offline viewing on Netflix is “in fact going to roll out soon”.
An official Netflix spokesperson told LightReading that they “don’t have anything to add at this time.” Amazon Prime, Comcast, Google Play and iTunes all offer offline viewing in one form or another. It’s entirely possible that offline viewing on Netflix could be limited to specific shows or studios as the feature requires appropriate content rights.
Netflix told TechRadar in December 2014 that the ability to watch videos while offline was “never going to happen”. In September 2015, Netflix’s Chief Product Officer, Neil Hunt, explained that that even though offline viewing is one of the most-requested features, he didn’t deem it something a lot of people would actually use.
“I still don’t think it’s a very compelling proposition,” he said. “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. Now, that sounds really stupid and self-serving, but it is in fact true”.
That’s a remarkably weak argument, if you ask me. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings acknowledged as much, saying recently that his company should “keep an open mind” in terms of potentially offering the offline feature.
Do you use Netflix and if so, is offline viewing something that makes sense to you?