In another development which impacts the market for OTT video services, Netflix announced Wednesday that it will enable subscribers to its video streaming service to download selected titles from its vast library of feature film, television and original content for offline viewing through their mobile devices. Officials of Netflix, which is making the feature available through the latest version of its mobile app, confirmed that users worldwide would be able to take advantage of the new service. The new download feature responds to the demands of subscribers who have been clamoring for the ability to download content for offline viewing in areas where wireless network or Wi-Fi coverage is poor, or on airplanes or in other areas where online web usage is restricted. Observers also expect the feature to become popular with Netflix subscribers who have limited mobile data allowances, although device storage issues could come into play.
Users of the Netflix app will see a download icon next to titles that are available for offline viewing. The updated app will also feature a new “available for download” section and a “my downloads” list of videos that have already been saved. Netflix will offer two levels of viewing quality that will permit full downloads of feature films in about two minutes, but not in high definition. Most titles will have an expiration date of about a week, after which downloads will no longer be available for viewing. While downloads will be limited initially to many of Netflix’s original shows and to several hundred feature film and TV titles, a Netflix spokesman affirmed that his company “is working with lots of partners globally to get downloading rights for the bulk of the content on our service.”