A long requested feature might be finally coming to Netflix sometime before the end of this year. According to LightReading, Netflix is working on a “download-to-go” feature that will let users save videos for offline viewing. The report cites the COO of Penthera, a company that works on mobile video, and Frost & Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn, who called Netflix's offline plans an open secret in the streaming video community.
One of the biggest barriers for the feature is still the issue of content rights. According to Rayburn, Netflix will be limited by the studios in terms of which titles are available for download, so besides the company’s own original content it remains to be seen who’s onboard and how much of their catalog they’ll be opening up for offline viewing.
Amazon Prime started offering offline video late last year and is also limited to select titles for this same reason. Moreover, some content owners place restrictions on the time period you can access downloaded video titles without an active Internet connection so there’s that too.
Netflix had been notably against video downloading but given that rival platforms like Amazon and YouTube Red now offer this option, the company is keeping “an open mind” about the offline video model according to comments made by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in a recent earnings meeting. He was specifically referring to Netflix’s global expansion and how the feature could be of benefit in countries with less stable internet infrastructures.