Attention, Netflix viewers: your favorite streaming service is indeed exploring offline viewing for its content, though there’s strong chance you won’t see it anytime soon.
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos chatted with CNBC about offline viewing, which would let subscribers download and watch their favorite shows and movies on their devices, even without an internet connection.
Sarandos said Netflix is “looking at it now,” though he didn’t offer a release timeline or many other details.
He did note the feature would likely appeal to – and probably launch first in – regions with slower internet speeds and limited Wi-Fi access, letting members in emerging markets watch Netflix without needing a robust connection.
“We still think for the developed world our thesis has been true but I think as we get into more and more (of the) undeveloped world and developing countries that we want to find alternatives for people to use Netflix easily,” he told CNBC.
That means it’s unlikely Netflix will bring offline viewing to regions like the US or UK, at least not to start. It doesn’t mean it will never happen, just that those areas don’t seem to be the focus of Netflix’s offline plans.
The streaming giant’s reach exploded earlier this year when it launched in 130 new countries in a single day. It’s now available in 190 territories, and Netflix has made no secret it’s looking to international and emerging markets to drive its growth going forward.
With US memberships slowing, the firm will continue to look for ways to bring in more subscribers, including, it seems, offering offline viewing.
This isn’t the first we’ve heard Netflix talk about the feature; CEO Reed Hastings said in April the company needs to “keep an open mind about this.” And with competitor Amazon Prime Video already letting users watch content offline, Netflix may want to flip the switch sooner rather than later.
We’ve asked Netflix for more on its offline viewing plans and when we can expect it to roll out, and will update this post if we hear back.
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