Netflix unveils download feature for offline binge-watching

(iStock)
(iStock)

Los Angeles - Netflix is making some TV shows and movies available to watch offline, providing its users a feature that has become a must-have in emerging markets with spotty internet access as well as for American binge-watchers on the go.

The world’s largest online TV network will roll out its new download feature on phones and tablets for all subscribers, but only for select shows such as “The Crown” and “Orange is the New Black” at first, according to a statement Wednesday.

READ: Netflix boosts tech shares as US stocks rise

Netflix has been signalling it would add a downloading option in recent months, as a way to continue increasing its subscriber base and match video-streaming rival Amazon.com. Offline viewing will make Netflix shows more accessible to customers around the world, particularly in developing markets in Asia and Africa.

Shares of the Los Gatos, California-based company rose as much as 2.4% to $120.37 in New York Wednesday.

Netflix has 86.7 million customers worldwide, 47.5 million of whom live in the US. The company now relies on international markets for most of its growth, and earlier this year expanded its footprint to the entire world, save for China, Syria, North Korea and Crimea.

READ: Netflix goes live in South Africa

“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,” said Eddy Wu, Netflix’s director of product innovation, in a web post.

As part of an update to Netflix’s mobile app, a “download and watch later” icon will now appear for subscribers below program information. 

The new feature is included at no extra charge in all plans and available on both Alphabet’s (Google) Android and Apple’s iOS platforms, the company said.

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