As I write this post, I just finished watching an episode of Narcos Season 2. On the plane. Without paying for WiFi (which doesn't work for streaming on most airlines anyway). Just in time for holiday travel, Netflix now offers offline playback. I am excited that I can binge watch and finally finish the final season of MadMen (yes, I know), catch up on Stranger Things and even my recent favorite, Stories of Rabindranath Tagore.
Companies sometimes say they will never do something but eventually yield to consumer preferences and market trends. For example, Apple said they will never do a big screen phone or a smaller tablet. Netflix has long said that it had no intention of ever offering an offline playback mode but followed its competitor Amazon Prime about a year later. I guess that’s why they say “never say never.”
Speaking of market trends, Pandora offers offline radio playback following its rival Spotify. YouTube Go is not Google's first attempt at offering some kind of offline playback. YouTube in June announced offline playback via overnight downloads for its audience in India. Eventually it might roll it out in other countries. Amazon has been a forerunner offering offline playback to its subscribers since September 2015. I would have never caught up on Downton Abbey if not for that.
Offline playback can be offered as Download to Own or Download To Rent. It enables users in countries like U.S. and U.K. that are mobile first, to binge watch on-the-go where they have no Internet/data connections – on an airplane or on their daily commute when they are conscious of data usage. But more importantly, offline playback opens up growth opportunities in developing markets where streaming is constrained by subpar internet speeds or by poor 2G/3G data services. Users can download shows/movies on home WiFi networks and watch them offline.
According to Ooyala's Q3 2016 Global Video Index, we know that nearly a third of all mobile video starts (30%) was of video over 20 minutes in length. And we expect long-form video viewing to gain even more over the next several quarters. Whether or not to offer video on a mobile screen is no longer a question as users expect content anywhere anytime. But it is now imperative to give users a "true" anywhere anytime experience - that is, even when they are offline.
Ooyala offers offline playback via both Download To Own (DTO) and Download To Rent (DTR) via Ooyala mobile SDK. This capability enables end-users to download videos direct to their device, and have the best viewing experience every time with with consistent HD quality without any buffering issues anytime, anywhere. Publishers and broadcasters can deliver great mobile viewing experiences to increase engagement and revenue through customer retention. To get started, see this documentation.
For more information about offering offline playback in your service, contact your Customer Success Manager.