Most offline streaming services, such as Spotify, offer offline playback so users can enjoy content even without an internet connection. Netflix, one of the most popular video streaming service providers, currently doesn't offer this feature to its users. This may change soon, if recent reports are correct, but it might not be available in the United States immediately, or ever.
Netflix is currently developing a feature that could allow users offline play, making the company's expansive library available to download. This will enable video playback even when disconnected from the internet. Rumors of a potential offline viewing feature first surfaced in October, suggesting that the company is set to offer it "within the next two months."
An offline mode appeals most to users who are in a location where high-speed internet isn't available, Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix, told CNBC.
"They [different territories] all have different levels of broadband speeds and Wi-Fi access," Sarandos said. "I think as we get into more and more [into the] undeveloped world and developing countries that we want to find alternatives for people to use Netflix easily."
Since low-speed internet isn't a major concern in the United States, the offline feature may not be offered in the country. For now, Netflix is trying to target underdeveloped markets who may not enjoy high-speed connections.
Asked if this feature will arrive soon, Sarandos offered a vague placeholder, telling CNBC that the company is currently looking on it.
"[W]e'll see when," he said.
Sarandos wasn't able to offer more details beyond that, but fundamentally, the idea is that any users with a Netflix subscription could soon download a film from Netflix's library when an internet connection is available and then have the option to watch it when there's no internet.
In 2014, Netflix's chief executive, Redd Hastings, was openly averse to the idea of offline streaming since he reasoned out that people are never far away from an internet connection. In April this year, however, the company seems to have soften up to the prospect of downloading Netflix content for offline playback. These, coupled with Sarandos' comments, imply that offline streaming may be ranking up the list of priorities for the company.
Netflix expanded its availability in 130 new countries beginning January this year, summing up its total reach to 190 countries. In the third quarter of the fiscal year, Netflix collected a sizable $2.15 billion in revenue thanks to its headline shows, such as Stranger Things and Narcos. The revenue spelled a 36 percent increase compared with last year, with the company also garnering 3.6 million new subscribers.
Netflix's strongest suit is arguably found in its original programming, and the company is investing $6 billion just for the green-lighting and development of new shows. The video streaming service better serves the watching habits of many today, as people often not have the luxury of following a programming schedule set by a network. With Netflix, they can easily choose to watch whenever they want at their own preferred speed, hence the cultural explosion of "binge-watching" in recent years.