Streaming has certainly made a boatload of content viewable in our homes, but if you frequently find yourself on the road or in areas with less-than-perfect internet service (e.g., airplanes), it can’t always be counted on. While some companies like Amazon offer temporary downloads for offline viewing, Netflix has not made the jump — so far.
According to a recent interview with Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, that could be set to change. However, while Netflix may indeed offer offline viewing sooner than later, it does not look like it will be available for viewers in the U.S. anytime soon.
“Now as we’ve launched in more territories … They all have different levels of broadband speeds and Wi-Fi access,” Sarandos told CNBC this week. “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. We still think for the developed world our thesis has been true but I think as we get into more and more [of the] undeveloped world and developing countries that we want to find alternatives for people to use Netflix easily.”
Based on that, it does not look like offline viewing will be a priority for the company in the U.S., where broadband is fairly common. Still, this is an important step forward, as it is the first time the company has openly acknowledged that this feature is in the works. In April, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in an earnings call that the company should “keep an open mind,” regarding offline viewing, but this is still the closest we’ve come to getting official word from the company on any actual plans to offer that service.
Unfortunately, Sarandos did not give many further details on when viewers might see this feature. He simply said that the company is “looking at it now, so we’ll see when.”