Amazon.com, Inc. has been working hard to catch up to Netflix, but with little success so far. But now, Amazon has come up with a feature that totally leapfrogs its rival in terms of convenience.
A good one for Amazon Prime users
The new feature is offline playback, and is available for both iOS and Android devices. Similar to what users have been doing on Amazon’s Fire devices, the update allow the Prime subscribers to download the service’s streaming titles. Amazon is also dropping the word “instant” from the name of its streaming service, which will now just be known as Amazon Prime Video.
The update does away with one of the major inconveniences of streaming services. For instance, if a user is watching Downton Abbey, but he or she needs to board a plane, then the user won’t have to wait till landing to finish the episode as now he or she will be able to download the episodes.
“We are proud to be the first and only online subscription streaming service that enables offline viewing—on vacation, in a car, at the beach, on a plane, wherever our Prime members want to watch they can, regardless of internet connection,” Michael Paull, Vice President of Digital Video at Amazon.com, Inc. said in a press release.
Amazon takes on Netflix
For now, only a few of the titles will be available for offline playback. Users will be able to watch few of Amazon’s original shows like Transparent and Bosch, and also programs exclusive to Amazon such as NBCUniversal’s Hannibal, CBS’s Under the Dome, and Fox’ 24. Amazon will also offer popular movies like Star Trek Into Darkness and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It seems like a co-incidence, but it may not, that the same movies Netflix will be losing after its deal with Epix expires this month.
Amazon’s latest move would certainly hurt Netflix, which last year clearly said that it won’t be adding the offline playback. Now, it will be interesting to see Netflix’s reaction to the Amazon’s move.
Reasons for Netflix’s hard stance on the feature is not clear, but it could be due many reasons. Like, Netflix is more of a streaming concept than the widespread downloads, says a report from The Verge. For offline playback, a separate deal would have to be locked in with the networks, who will be asking for more money to offset the revenue they lose from travel-related movie rentals and sales. On the contrary, Amazon.com, Inc. already has the needed infrastructure to buy such movies, and has been quick when it comes to licensing, says the report.