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Netflix Launches Offline Viewing

by AFP
Robyn Beck—AFP

Robyn Beck—AFP

Streaming video giant now allows users to download some content to mobile devices.

Netflix said on Wednesday it would allow offline viewing of streamed videos, a feature long sought by users who want to watch on a plane or to avoid data-connection charges.

A Netflix statement said that “many of your favorite streaming series and movies” would be available for download and offline viewing on mobile devices. “While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we’ve often heard they also want to continue their Stranger Things binge while on airplanes and other places where Internet is expensive or limited,” said a blog post from product innovation chief Eddy Wu. “Just click the download button on the details page for a film or TV series and you can watch it later without an Internet connection.”

Netflix did not offer details on how much content would be available offline, noting that it was in discussion with copyright owners. “Netflix is working with lots of partners globally to get downloading rights for the bulk of the content on our service,” a statement emailed to AFP said. “This is an ongoing effort as we know consumers want this capability and we are working to provide it.”

Netflix, which is in a global push and has more than 86 million members, is facing increasing competition from rivals including Amazon, which also is in the midst of an international expansion of its streaming service.

Amazon already allows downloads of videos—noting that some content is restricted by copyright holders in terms of offline viewing.

Netflix users had been unable to download and view videos offline through its mobile application, but workarounds had been offered by third-party apps.

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