Code suggests ad-supported Netflix won’t support offline viewing

Netflix is set to remove a key feature for subscribers to its soon-to-be-introduced ad-supported tier: mobile downloads.

The feature, currently available to all users of the Mobile Netflix app, allows users to download shows and movies to their devices to watch on the go in low- or no-signal areas such as public transport or when travelling abroad.

However, according to tech analyst Steve Moser (via Bloomberg), code has been spotted in the Netflix iPhone app which says “Downloads available on all plans except Netflix with ads.”

The code also shows that ads will be unskippable and playback controls will not be available during ad breaks.

This implementation is very similar to NBCUniversal’s Peacock, whose app highlights that content downloads are only available to users with the top-tier Premium subscription which also removes ads.

The analyst also identified further details in the app which shed light on Netflix’s approach to ad, including part of a setup process which helps the app tailor ads to users. The in-app message apparently will read: “Now, let’s set up your ad experience. We just need a few details to make sure you get the most relevant ads on Netflix. It’ll be really quick, we promise!”

Pricing and availability is yet to be revealed for Netflix’s ad-supported offering, with the company looking to make up ground having lost its top-spot in streaming to Disney after two consecutive quarters of subscriber losses. Disney itself will launch an ad-supported tier of Disney+ in the US on December 8, which will cost US$7.99 per month.

Tags: Netflix

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