After Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that the company is keeping an "open mind" in regards to offering offline viewing to its customers, a new report from LightReading this week hints that the feature could be coming to the streaming platform "by the end of the year" (via Gizmodo). The information comes from industry insider Dan Taitz -- COO of Penthera, a company that works on mobile video -- who described a potential "landscape shift" in the streaming video market when an offline viewing option arrives on Netflix.
"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."
Another source, Frost & Sullivan Principal Analyst Dan Rayburn, called Netflix's offline viewing feature an "open secret" within the streaming community. Rayburn commented that rumors have been swirling "for months" about the impending launch of a download-to-go alternative for Netflix subscribers, potentially even prior to Hasting's comments on the service back in April.
"It's a natural progression for Netflix to want to have some of their content available for consumers to watch offline, and we've been hearing for months now that they are in fact going to roll something out soon," says Rayburn.
Netflix's biggest roadblock on the service could be copyright issues with downloaded film and TV shows, according to Rayburn, who mentioned that -- besides Netflix's own original content -- it'll be a studio-by-studio basis to see how much content is supported as an offline viewing option.
Prior to Hasting's optimistic comments in April, Netflix Chief Product Officer, Neil Hunt, had previously said offline viewing was "not a very compelling proposition" in the company's future because it would add too much complexity into a simplistic service. Given that rival platforms, like Amazon and YouTube Red, now offer users the ability to watch downloaded videos offline, it makes sense for Netflix's interest in the feature to be piqued.