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Netflix, Inc.: Is ‘Watch Offline’ Feature the Next Big Step for NFLX?

After years of saying no, NFLX is softening its stance on offering an offline video option in addition to streaming

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Netflix is at a place right now where it needs to do something seen as a progressive move for all users. Offering 4K video and HDR video is great, but the content is extremely limited and it is useful to only a very small subset of its subscriber base.

Letting customers watch offline is something that most people would find useful at one point or another, and for some people it could be a killer feature.

According to Re/Code’s Peter Kafka, Netflix is now wavering about its no offline video stance. When asked about competitors that allow users to download video and watch offline at the company’s Q1 earnings call, CEO Reed Hastings had this to say:

“We should keep an open mind on this. We’ve been so focused on click-and-watch and the beauty and simplicity of streaming. But as we expand around the world, where we see an uneven set of networks, it’s something we should keep an open mind about.”

Raising subscription rates and aggressively blocking VPN users in countries like Canada has earned Netflix bad publicity. Competitors like Amazon are actively going after its customers, and global expansion is hampered by sometimes spotty network coverage.

The net result of these factors could be seen in that earnings report, where subscriber growth forecasts are now much lower than expected. Adding offline video to its streaming service would help address many of those negatives and could be just the low-cost, high-impact fix NFLX needs to turn things around.

As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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