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Netflix Working on 'Offline Mode', Industry Sources

Photo of Netflix buffering playback - Photo credit: Global X (https://www.flickr.com/photos/globalx/4631323660/in/photolist-), CC 2.0
Sean Fang Tue, 28/06/2016 - 13:49

Amazon Video already has it, and Netflix had already labeled it a PR stunt, but industry sources are absolutely certain that offline playback is coming to Netflix, and sooner than you think!

First reported by LightReading, citing industry insider and Penthera COO Dan Taitz, Netflix's work on an offline mode has been described as an "open secret" within the streaming video community.

"We know from our sources within the industry that Netflix is going to launch this product," says Taitz. "My expectation is that by the end of the year Netflix will be launching download-to-go as an option for their customers."

The work that Netflix has to do isn't so much on the technical side - Amazon Video has been allowing this for almost a year now for selected titles - but to do with licensing - Netflix has to acquire licensing rights to allow downloads to happen, at least for non Netflix Original titles.

An offline mode would allow subscribers to pre-load shows to their portable devices, for viewing in places where an Internet connection, or the required speed, isn't available. It could also save users from having to use their limited mobile data for streaming, for example, on the train to work.

If Netflix were to introduce an offline mode, it would be somewhat of a turnaround from the company's initial reactions to the same feature when it was first revealed by rivals Amazon. Netflix's Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt at that time described the feature as a "PR stunt", and did not feel it would lead to a "good consumer experience."

But Hunt did reveal that Netflix would be watching the Amazon experiment closely, and did say that the feature would be something Netflix will monitor to "see if it’s something lots of people will use".

It appears now that Amazon's experiment has produced positive result.

[LightReading, via Gizmodo]

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