Netflix Viewers: Show Downloads May Be in Your Future

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My, oh my, how times have changed for Netflix. The global video streaming company — which started as a DVD-by-mail service back in 1998 before transitioning to streaming movies and TV series in 2007 — may soon allow you to temporarily download its video content so you can enjoy it offline.

Speaking to Fortune, Dan Taitz, chief operating officer at Penthera, a company that sells software to video streaming providers like Netflix, said “it’s obvious” that Netflix will soon add a download feature for its subscribers.

“From industry sources, I know that Netflix is out in the market negotiating to get download rights in addition to streaming rights,” Taitz told Fortune. “Content providers are getting asked that now from Netflix so [Netflix] can offer a download service.”

Netflix declined to comment to Fortune regarding Taitz’s remarks. But it appears that the company is at least considering the possibility of providing a download option for users, something it was previously against.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in an earnings call in April that Netflix must “keep an open mind” when it comes to downloadable content.

Amazon, Comcast and Charter already offer a video download feature.

According to communications industry site LightReading, a Frost & Sullivan analyst corroborated Taitz’s musings, describing the likelihood of Netflix offering video downloads as a sort of “open secret” in the video streaming community.

“It’s a natural progression for Netflix to want to have some of their content available for consumers to watch offline, and we’ve been hearing for months now that they are in fact going to roll something out soon,” Frost & Sullivan principal analyst Dan Rayburn told LightReading.

If all the speculation proves true, the timing could hardly be better, especially considering roughly 17 million longtime Netflix subscribers — myself included — have recently had their monthly subscription rates bumped from $7.99 to $9.99.

What do you think about the possibility of Netflix offering a download feature for offline viewing on at least some of its shows? Would you use a download feature? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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