What does Netflix's download feature mean for competitors?
By Brielle Jaekel
December 1, 2016
Netflix's download feature on the mobile app
Streaming-media company Netflix has finally answered a major request from consumers by now allowing users to download content instead of only streaming, which could have the potential to dramatically shift the programming consumption space even further.
Netflix has ventured into an area in which all customers have been hoping it will, allowing users to download its content so they can watch in areas where they do not have service such as on flights or in subways. While Netflix could be credited with changing consumers expectations for how they receive entertainment content, this latest update might throw competitors for a loop yet again and shift consumer behavior.
"This is a highly significant evolution for Netflix and the overall individual Netflix subscriber experience," Michael Becker, managing partner at mCordis
. "As we enter the connected era, it is important for marketers to understand that while our connected devices are with us nearly all day, these devices are not necessarily connected all the time or the connection fees are too expensive to support content streaming experiences.
"To this end, Netflix is ensuring that its subscribers, with a bit of forethought, can retain and access the value of their subscription all the time," he said.
Binge-watching Netflix growth
The streaming company forever changed the way we consume entertainment content by creating an atmosphere in which consumers now expect to be able to watch shows and film on demand at anytime. Netflix has now even ventured into content creation as well, becoming a significant provider of buzz-worthy shows.
But now mobile application users will be able to watch Netflix truly wherever they go by downloading content at no additional cost. A major drawback for users in the past was its lack of a feature such as this, preventing individuals the ability to watch on long flights or when low on data.
The new addition displays Netflixs ability to adapt and shape the industry. For instance, Netflix was first born in the era in which consumers rented physical DVDs from the store and began shipping the DVDs to customers.
Once consumers were able to have these DVDs delivered right to their door without having to leave their homes, a bricks-and-mortar presence became less relevant. Video rental services such as Blockbuster were forced to adopt their own in-mail rental services to compete with Netflix, but even that was not enough and Blockbuster, among others, shut down.
It was Netflixs streaming service that eventually became the business main avenue, while still maintaining low monthly fees. Consumers now come to expect on-demand streaming services.
While not every movie, special or show is available for download on Netflix immediately, a vast majority of it is. A download symbol is featured next to content that can be downloaded on the app.
Users can click on the symbol if they wish to download the item, and will then be able to watch it in the future without needing Wi-Fi or cellular data.
Recently, Netflix also integrated with Comcasts Xfinity and TiVo so that customers of both are able to stream Netflix right on their boxes.
Netflix also tapped the influence of Snapchat and NFL content to promote its Jessica Jones series to a tech savvy and broad market, with various advertisements in the Sunday Football live story.
The live stories shared user-generated content curated by Snapchat team members, and the NFL bolsters a significant following during the football stories. Netflix promoted to a large audience on this story, which is also likely to be millennials and tech-savvy, a demographic likely to be interested and stream the series (see more
"Adding downloading features should enhance streaming since it should encourage people to use the service more, potentially over competitors like Xfinity TV To Go or Amazon Prime," Mr. Becker said. "By adding downloading capabilities Netflix they are demonstrating understanding responding to customer demand, reducing friction in the use of their service, they, creating new opportunities for engagement and being of service, all fundamental principles of being a connected marketer."