It's the glimmer of hope that subscribers to the streaming service Netflix have been waiting for. During a first quarter earnings call this week, company CEO Reed Hastings said that Netflix is considering giving viewers the option to view video content offline, WIRED reports.
"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," Hastings told investors this week.
As Variety points out, Netflix has dismissed the idea of adding an offline viewing feature in the past, despite it being offered by competitors like Google Play and Amazon. In fact, when Amazon introduced its streaming service with the feature, Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt told Gizmodo that his company would not follow suit:
"I still don't think it's a very compelling proposition ... I think it's something that lots of people ask for. We'll see if it's something lots of people will use. 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.”
Still, Hastings's "open mind" quote is the equivalent of a "maybe" for now. However, it could be promising for millions of subscribers (a number that recently grew, when the company expanded its reach to 130 countries in January) who want to view their favorite shows on the go and in places where Wi-Fi is not an option.