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Netflix explains why it won’t follow Amazon Prime into offline viewing



Netflix will not be following Amazon Prime Instant Video into the world of offline downloads, and the streaming giant has explained why.

Speaking to Gizmodo UK, Netflix’s Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt said users won’t be able to handle the complexity of the option.

Hunt says Amazon’s proposition isn’t all that compelling and is undermined by actually having to download the files before watching the clip.

He said: “I still don't think it's a very compelling proposition.

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.”

Read now: Netflix vs Amazon Prime

Amazon’s decision made waves in the streaming world last week, with the announcement greeted positively in most quarters.

However, the “Paradox of Choice” as Hunt calls it will ‘paralyse’ some viewers according to Hunt, who seems not to think too highly of the firm’s user base.

He added: “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. It's the 'Paradox of Choice', the jam experiment – you put strawberry, apricot and blackberry jam in the supermarket aisle and you can persuade half the people coming down the aisle to taste the jam and maybe buy one. But if you decide to add lemon, orange, blueberry and grapefruit, by adding the choices you don't increase the number of people choosing one, but in fact you go the other way. Fewer people choose anything at all.”

So there you have it, folks. Netflix isn’t going to give you offline streaming because you’re incapable of picking from a variety of jams in a supermarket.


September 7, 2015, 10:17 pm

Well Sky Go+ users have had this for a while and seem to be able to cope. Not exactly rocket science is it?


September 7, 2015, 11:49 pm

Neil Hunt is talking a lot of trash. He likens giving people an option of streaming or downloading to giving people seven options in his supermarket analogy whilst giving the impression three options is fine. Streaming or downloading is only two options and for people whose internet is often laggy the latter is going to be the preferred option.How do idiots get these jobs. He needs demoted to cleansing operative. That kind of decision he has made and the apparently arrogant attitude at Netflix will probably be their downfall.


September 8, 2015, 7:49 am

Iplayer downloads are easy, don't patronise customers Netflix!


September 8, 2015, 8:25 am

"we won't give our customers a simple feature because we think you're all too stupid to use it"

Yan Huang

September 8, 2015, 12:54 pm

Yeah, sounds like reactionary babble from a company that was caught off-guard. Makes no sense whatsoever.

Yan Huang

September 8, 2015, 12:55 pm

I know Netflix users with degrees or PhDs in computing science, as well as ones who manage storage for a living. Wonder if they'll be moving to Amazon Prime now.

Richie Brian

January 15, 2016, 10:54 pm

My internet is too slow for streaming. I can choose download or buff...........ering.

BBC iPlayer and All4 allow downloads, and they're free. If Netflix isn't even trying to compete, they'll never get me as a customer.

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