Christmas arrived a little early for Netflix subscribers around the world. The streaming giant, in a blog post today, said it has begun to offer a download option for subscribers worldwide that allows them to view content offline.
The feature is included in all plans and is available for phones and tablets on Android and iOS. And, it's free.
While the download strategy is vital in certain global markets with limited Internet access, especially emerging markets in APAC and Latin America, it’s also a pretty nice perk for users in developed countries. Netflix’s primary rival, Amazon Prime Instant Video, already allows downloading of much of its content for offline viewing.
Netflix is actually playing catch up with its biggest competitor, Amazon, which already allows users to download most of its content for offline viewing. Will Hulu join the fray? Probably. It's already a long way behind its two chief adversaries and it will have to "me, too" the offline viewing if it wants to stay relevant.
Interestingly, our latest Video Index, the Q3 2016 iteration will be coming out soon, noticed an increase in the amount of medium- and long-form content being consumed on mobile devices, particularly smartphones, during the quarter. So, while we've always been bullish on the concept that the closest screen at hand is the first screen, we're even more so with the Q3 data in our hands. And, with Netflix's move today, it's clear than mobile consumption of long form and premium content is only going to increase.
As to what is and isn't available to download on Netflix, the company's Director of Product Innovation, Eddy Wu, wrote that some content already was available for downloading to view offline, including Orange is The New Black, Narcos and The Crown available today. A quick scan of the site showed that virtually all of its original content (predictably) is available for downloading, as well as multiple other titles. And, it’s fast.
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