Netflix finally enables downloads; Hulu could soon follow

Netflix

Netflix announced today that it’s finally enabling users to download programming to mobile devices for offline viewing. 

“While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we’ve often heard they also want to continue their Stranger Things binge while on airplanes and other places where Internet is expensive or limited. Just click the download button on the details page for a film or TV series and you can watch it later without an internet connection,” blogged Eddy Wu, director of product innovation for Netflix.

RELATED: Netflix's product chief: Offline viewing offers consumers too much choice

The movement to downloads has been a slow process for the SVOD market leader, which is actually following Amazon in this case. 

As recently as September, Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt told Gizmodo, "I think it's something that lots of people ask for. We'll see if it's something lots of people will use."

Expect Hulu—the other big player in the SVOD power triad—to follow up with a downloadable feature soon. 

Speaking this week at a mobile event held at the University of California at San Francisco, Hulu Senior VP and Head of Experience Ben Smith said, "We're working on it, and we're not alone," he said." We'll get there, for sure, in our industry.”

As for Netflix, downloads are available for iOS and Android devices. Users will have to download the latest Netflix app to enjoy them. 

“Many of your favorite streaming series and movies are already available for download, with more on the way, so there is plenty of content available for those times when you are offline,” Wu said. “For example, Orange is The New Black, Narcos and The Crown are available for download today.”

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