Netflix CEO Keeping an 'Open Mind' About Offline Viewing for Mobile Apps

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A long-requested feature could be coming to the iOS and Android versions of Netflix, letting users download TV shows and movies for offline viewing instead of being stranded in areas without Wi-Fi or a cellular signal when wanting to watch the video streaming service. Netflix has been lagging behind its competitors in this regard, with companies like Amazon and YouTube allowing some form of offline viewing to its paying members.

Netflix iOS app
Answering a question from Re/code yesterday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings admitted that the company would consider the possibility for users to download its videos moving forward, without directly confirming it would implement the feature anytime soon. The wording of Hastings' comment also suggests that if offline viewing ever came, Netflix would angle it as an assistive feature for countries with less reliable internet speeds, rather than a bullet point benefit to its broader subscriber base.

“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.”

Netflix's previous stance on offline viewing was a belief that the introduction of such a feature would add too much complexity into a service that prides itself on simplicity of use. Last September, the company's Chief Product Officer, Neil Hunt, said that Netflix believes it's "not a very compelling proposition" moving forward. Undoubtedly content licenses would be a hurdle for the feature as well, but given the steadily growing amount of Netflix-created original content, users would have plenty of TV shows, movies, and documentaries to choose from if offline viewing ever becomes available.

Tag: Netflix

Top Rated Comments

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59 months ago
This sounds like a really good idea.

However with Netflix loosing ~30% of their streaming catalog over the last couple of years....they are very close to having such a sparse catalog that people start dropping them. This is all in the hands of the Studios of course - who may not want a Netflix at all and may be slowly strangling them (it'd be a better world for them where you pay for every viewing and own nothing).
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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59 months ago
They also need to add in iPad multitasking. I want to be able to watch my Netflix while doing other things on my iPad Pro.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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59 months ago
Yes please. This would come in so handing during long road trips with my 6yr old.
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59 months ago

Do it, Netflix. I'm in the US with an ISP that uses data caps to deter streaming services. I may drop Netflix unless I can offload 50ish gigs to my network at work or the gym.

2 things:
1) You should consider changing your ISP, if you have a choice.
2) If everyone who has Netflix and works where you do and/or goes to your gym follows suit, this may have implications on wifi at those locations.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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