Many Netflix subscribers have long been asking for the ability to download video content for the purpose of offline viewing, especially while traveling. With Amazon having just announced that certain content on its Prime Video service is now available for offline playback, one would expect the pressure on Netflix to do the same would be even higher. Unfortunately, the company has made a clear statement that it has no plans offer such a feature in the near future.
Netflix’s Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt spoke to Gizmodo recently and explained the reasoning behind the company’s decision. But instead of giving a realistic answer, he said that users wouldn’t be able to handle the “complexity” that comes with downloading, such as managing device storage space and, you know, remembering to click a download button.
“Undoubtedly it adds considerable complexity to your life with Amazon Prime – you have to remember that you want to download this thing. It’s not going to be instant, you have to have the right storage on your device, you have to manage it, and I’m just not sure people are actually that compelled to do that, and that it’s worth providing that level of complexity.”
A much likely reason is due to the trouble of negotiating with content owners to get them to allow shows and movies to be downloaded. This is probably why Amazon Prime users can only download select content, something Hunt also brought up as a frustration for subscribers.
In Gizmodo‘s interview, Hunt did make specific mention about one day making Netflix content available during traveling via servers on airplanes or trains for example. However that was just an idea of something that might work, and the company doesn’t have any specific plans to do that.