The day people around the country have been waiting patiently for has finally arrived; Netflix has an offline mode. Netflix recently announced an alternative to blowing through your monthly mobile data plan with the ability to download content and watch it without any wifi or data connection. Netflix made the announcement in true 2016 fashion by breaking the news in a tweet. The tweet reads:
“Airplane mode. Road trip mode. Stuck-in-the-subway-for-20-minutes mode. Your favorite stories are now available for download any time.” –@Netflix
Netflix’s addition of an offline content mode is the latest play in a movement by various television streaming services, to offer solutions to their customer’s massive mobile data usage. Netflix will only offer select titles on this offline service for now, but we can expect that list of titles to grow as time goes on. Available content can be found by opening the Netflix iOs or Android app and selection the “Available for Download” category. Unfortunately, there’s no word yet on when this offline ability will make its way to the desktop, but one can safely assume that Netflix is working on it.
This is big news for anyone who lives in regions with spotty cell service or frequent travelers. Many people have been draining their data plans (and their wallets) by streaming video outside of wifi. Netflix’s new feature will allow anyone to choose their content while in wifi coverage and save their data usage for another day. If you’re living somewhere with slow internet service, you can download your content ahead of time and not have to suffer through continuous buffering screens when you’re finally ready to sit down and watch television.
Other services, like AT&T’s DirecTV Now are taking a different approach to combating data usage, but making sure that any data used on their app will not count towards anyone’s monthly limit. Regardless of the method used, the goal is the same: streaming video services have to find a way to cut down on their customer’s monthly data use.
This move is a stark change from the messaging Netflix has put out there in the past. In 2014,a Netflix public relations director went so far as to say that offline content was “Never going to happen.” Given the changing landscape of subscription video-on-demand services, Netflix has clearly shifted direction.
Those who follow the subscription video-on-demand services space more closely will know that, while this is a brilliant move by Netflix, they are not the first to make changes like this. Amazon Prime has been offering offline video services since September 2015. Like Netflix, Amazon only has a portion of its video content available for offline download, but that the list of available titles continues to grow by the day.