Have an account? Sign in or Sign up

Netflix Labels Amazon Offline Download Mode as 'PR Stunt'

Photo of remote control with Netflix button (Photo Credit: televisione @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/televisione/18526855496/, CC 2.0)
Sean Fang Tue, 08/09/2015 - 15:04

Last week, Amazon made the surprising announcement that their Prime streaming service would be getting a download mode, allow users to watch selected content when they don't have an active Internet connection. With many calling on Netflix to implement the same feature, Netflix has poured cold water on the idea, saying that users won't really use the feature.

Netflix's Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt, when asked by Gizmondo UK whether Netflix has plans to implement their own download mode, made it very clear that offline viewing isn't a very "compelling proposition".

He explains that this is one of those feature frequently requested, but will hardly ever be used because it might just be too much trouble for most.

“I think it’s something that lots of people ask for. We’ll see if it’s something lots of people will use. Undoubtedly it adds considerable complexity to your life with Amazon Prime – you have to remember that you want to download this thing. 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," explained Hunt.

Hunt backs up his claims with some anecdotal evidence based on past experiments with user demanded features.

"Every time you add a control, you reduce the total number of users who use them. We did an experiment with our five star rating system, for instance; everybody said ‘you’ve got to do half stars’, people really wanting to say a film is worth three and a half stars, ‘I didn’t just like it, nor really love it.’ So we left all the graphics exactly the same, except letting you light up an extra half a star, really simple. We had 11 percent less ratings coming in! Just insane! We’ve plenty of cases where we’ve seen that happen," says Hunt.

Hunt says that because not all content on Amazon Prime would have the license to allow for a download option, it will ultimately end up frustrating users when the content they want isn't available for offline viewing.

"I think Amazon is playing a good game of PR, but I’m not sure it’s a good consumer experience," added Hunt. "We’ll see."

News Tags: