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Netflix Reportedly Eyeing Content Downloads

27 Jun, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

New Netflix app logo on the right

Netflix reportedly will soon allow subscribers to download select (likely original) content for viewing offline. It’s a move rivals Starz, Epix and Amazon Prime Video have started — the latter last September offering select movies and TV shows to portable devices. Devices include Kindle Fire tablets, Fire mobile phone, Android and Apple iOS.

First reported by Fortune, which cited Dan Taitz, COO at Penthera, which markets software facilitating the delivery video content over wireless networks to mobile devices, Netflix’s foray into downloads is something CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings hasn’t shied away from.

“As we expand around the world, where we see an uneven set of [streaming] networks, it's something we should keep an open mind about,” Hastings said on the April 18 fiscal webcast.

Officially, however, the subscription-streaming pioneer isn’t commenting, while leaving the door open to change.

“We've said that while we're focused on delivering a great streaming experience, we're always open to new ways to please our members,” spokesperson Anne Marie Squeo said in an email.

Separately, media reports suggest Netflix is about to re-up a 2011 license agreement with The CW for about $1 billion. The cable network is co-owned by CBS and Time Warner. The renewal, which the Los Angeles Times reported Hulu opted out of when it couldn’t secure full stacking rights to shows, would instead grant Netflix expanded rights, including faster access to new episodes of “The Flash,” “Supernatural,” “Supergirl” and “Jane the Virgin,” among others, in addition to greater catalog depth.

Quicker access to current-season episodes would appear to undermine the cautionary approach toward SVOD and Netflix spelled out last year by Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.

The executive has slowly embraced SVOD and over-the-top video distribution in a rapidly evolving on-demand ecosystem. He also thinks licensing the farm to Netflix sacrifices long-term revenue potential for short-term fiscal gain.

“We are evaluating whether to retain our rights for a longer period of time and forego or delay certain content licensing,” Bewkes said last year on the company's Q3 fiscal call.

Netflix wouldn’t deny or confirm the news.

“Nothing to share on CW news reports,” said Squeo.

Finally, Netflix quietly tweaked its app logo (see above on the right), which doesn't affect the corporate logo.


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