Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Netflix may allow you to download movies as an offline option

Netflix has long been pestered by the requests of people wishing they could at least temporarily download movies and TV shows from the streaming platform. The idea is, we often use our most recent binge addictions to pass the time in situations where wifi isn’t readily available. Long road trips or flights are well-suited for House of Cards smorgasbords. Unfortunately, Netflix has had a long-standing answer of “Heck no” when it comes to downloading content to devices. However… it looks like change might be in the wind.

Our evidence of this comes from the mouth of Netflix’s CEO himself. In a Q1 earnings call this week, Re/code’s Peter Kafka asked CEO Reed Hasting about the future of the company’s stream-only policy. It seems as though the question was almost one of a formality, something to ask Netflix on the regular, expecting to be shot down. However, the tune was slightly different in this call. Here’s what Hasting had to say:

We should keep an open mind on this. We’ve been so focused on click-and-watch and the beauty and simplicity of streaming. But as we expand around the world, where we see an uneven set of networks, it’s something we should keep an open mind about.

The motive behind this possible shift in strategy seems part and parcel with Netflix’s continued interest in technologically developing nations where networks aren’t as ubiquitous as they are in the company’s bread-and-butter western market. The hinge of this shift in business model is located in licensing arrangements. Downloadable content is a completely different ballgame than streaming on demand, so the company will have to do a little extra negotiating to secure those rights. Re/code points out that this may be a no-go for big players like Disney, but indie films, in-house intellectual property, and smaller players will probably jump at the opportunity to offer their content as downloadable.

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