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Netflix has no plans to match Amazon's offline mode

By Shawn Knight
Sep 7, 2015
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  1. Amazon last week announced that Prime members are now able to download movies and TV shows for offline viewing. It’s a move that many expected might force the competition to match but according to Netflix, it’s not going to happen.

    Gizmodo UK recently caught up with Neil Hunt, chief product officer for Netflix. Hunt admitted that it’s a feature that lots of people have asked for but ultimately it isn’t a very compelling proposition.

    Using Amazon as an example, Hunt said it undoubtedly adds considerable complexity to a user’s life. For example, you have to remember that you want to download something (that doesn’t seem too difficult). What’s more, downloads for offline viewing won’t be instant (naturally) and you have to have enough storage on your device (again, nothing outrageous here).

    Hunt said he isn’t sure people are compelled to meet such requirements and that it’s worth providing that level of complexity.

    Not offering offline viewing simply because you think people are too stupid to manage downloads seems a bit silly. As Hunt points out, however, each time they’ve added a new control or feature, the number of people that use them is reduced. He cited the addition of half-star ratings to their five-star rating system as an example, noting that they saw an 11 percent drop in ratings once the half-star option was added.

    What’s your opinion on the matter? Would you like to see Netflix add offline streaming to its service? Is Hunt simply beating around the bush and offering up trivial excuses as to why they don’t plan to add it? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments section below.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. gigantor21

    gigantor21 TS Member Posts: 19   +13

    The convenience of being able to just watch the file offline more than makes up for those potential issues--most of which are things people are used to dealing with for downloads in general. Those arguments are pretty weaksauce.
     
  3. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,917   +684

    I'd like the option to Offline View things just so when I'm on a plane or something I can actually use the service. Also I feel kinda insulted Netflix think I can't remember to download something and apparently I have no idea how to manage space on my devices?! Really Netflix?
     
  4. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,179   +72

    I think what Neil Hunt is trying to say is that most users won't use the feature and Netflix feels it won't help its bottom line.
     
  5. RustyTech

    RustyTech TS Guru Posts: 865   +434

    I always thought 5 star ratings where not enough...now 10 star, that would show more accurately if a show is good or not. But lets not jump ahead of ourselves, how about the fact that you can't view ANY ratings since the only thing you see is "rating RECOMMENDED for you" and not user ratings.
    Yeah..lets fix that first.
     
  6. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,547   +2,346

    Hunt said he isn’t sure people are compelled to meet such requirements and that it’s worth providing that level of complexity.

    Not offering offline viewing simply because you think people are too stupid to manage downloads seems a bit silly. As Hunt points out, however, each time they’ve added a new control or feature, the number of people that use them is reduced. He cited the addition of half-star ratings to their five-star rating system as an example, noting that they saw an 11 percent drop in ratings once the half-star option was added.


    How can you state that he thinks people are "too stupid to manage downloads" and then, in the same paragraph, demonstrate his actual point (that most users don't want to be bothered with it)? The Netflix product is designed around simplicity. You click an icon, it plays a movie. That's what people like. Adding menus and storage nonsense complicates that. It's a matter of convenience, not aptitude.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015

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