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Netflix considers offline playback—in some territories

by Brandon Russell | November 2, 2016November 2, 2016 7:00 pm PDT

Netflix has been pretty clear about why it doesn’t offer offline playback—something Amazon does with Prime Video. Slowly but surely, the company’s tune might finally be changing.

In an interview with CNBC, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos revealed the service is considering offline playback—at least in developing markets.

“Now as we’ve launched in more territories… They all have different levels of broadband speeds and Wi-Fi access,” Sarandos said. “So in those countries they have adapted their behaviors to be much more of a downloading culture. So in those emerging territories it starts to become a little more interesting.”

Netflix’s argument for not offering offline playback has been that most subscribers are always within arm’s reach of a fast internet connection. So, why offer offline playback when Wi-Fi is accessible in most places?

What about people who travel?

Well, I have a rebuttal: Road trips, hotels, planes, trains, camping, boats, the moon. A reliable internet connection isn’t as readily available as Sarandos thinks, which is why so many Netflix customers are craving an offline option.

While Netflix is mostly considering offline access for emerging markets, there’s always the possibility it could arrive in larger markets such as the U.S. If Amazon Prime can do it, why not Netflix?


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...