Netflix has always seemed set against offline viewing, but the CEO recently revealed he had an “open mind” on the matter.
Being able to download content on Netflix is one of the most commonly requested features for the service. Amazon Video already offers it, and the pressure is ramping up for Netflix to do the same.
There’s a good argument that Netflix’s recent move into 130 new countries will force the company’s hand. After all, many nations don’t have great mobile infrastructure, which means streaming on-the-go is impossible.
But as streaming, network coverage, and internet speeds improves, we wonder how badly users actually want to view content offline.
Would you pay more for offline viewing on Netflix?
Related: Best VPNs for streaming video
What do users really want?
If you Google ‘Netflix offline viewing’, you’ll find no shortage of news articles and users discussing the subject. It’s a popular prospect, and here are some of the reasons why:
Netflix hasn't been shy about its opposition to offline viewing, with executives often commenting publicly about how unlikely it is that the feature will be implemented.
The winds are changing however, and Netflix (despite its 2014 peak of "it's never going to happen") has progressively lightened up the rhetoric. Here's how the company's stance has changed over time:
March 2, 2012 – Adrian Cockroft, Cloud Architect:
“There are some user cases where streaming isn’t best used – like when you are on a plane with your device, but it is such a small proportion of the market it’s not really beneficial to pursue this.”
“We would much rather make sure that our main service is the best it can be.” (Via TechRadar)
January 14, 2014 – Joris Evers, Director of Global Communications:
“[Offline viewing is] very unlikely. I was going to say no, I was going to just categorically say no. But let me just tell you it’s very unlikely. Because we want to be a click and watch service that’s as simple and straightforward and easy as possible." (Via Pocket-Lint)
December 17, 2014 – Cliff Edwards, Director of Corporate Communications:
“It’s never going to happen,” adding that “it’s a short term fix for a bigger problem”. (Via TechRadar)
September 7, 2015 – Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer:
“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." (Via Gizmodo)
April 18, 2016 – Reed Hastings, CEO:
“We should keep an open mind on this. We’ve been so focused on click-and-watch and the beauty and simplicity of streaming, but as we expand around the world, where we see an uneven set of networks, it’s something we should keep an open mind about.”
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Tell us if you'd pay more for offline viewing – and if so, how much? – in the comments below.