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Netflix launches automatic downloads feature

Content streaming platform Netflix on Monday announced a new feature that will automatically download recommended content for users on their smartphones.

Netflix’s latest ‘Downloads for You’ feature automatically downloads recommended shows or movies to a user’s mobile device based on their tastes, Netflix said in a blogpost.

“Three years ago, we introduced Smart Downloads so you can find the next episode of your favourite show – even when you’re on the go. Now, we want to make discovering your next new favorite series or film quick and easy whether you’re connected or not,” it added.

The company, which competes with services like Amazon Prime Video and Disney+Hotstar in India, said users will always be in control of how much content is downloaded to their device.

Users need to visit the ‘Downloads’ tab on their mobile device and toggle on Downloads For You. They can choose the amount of content they want downloaded to their device (1GB, 3GB, or 5GB) and click Turn On. The more space they allow, the more recommendations Netflix will download for them, the blog said.

“The feature is available today on Android globally and we’ll be testing soon on iOS,” it added.

Over-the-top (OTT) players like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+Hotstar have seen massive growth in the Indian market in the past few years on the back of cheap data tariffs and availability of affordable smartphones.

The adoption of these digital platforms was further accelerated during the pandemic amid restricted social activities like visits to movie theatres.

A significant amount of OTT content consumption is on mobile phones in the country, and these platforms have ensured that the viewing experience is optimised for mobile phone viewing.

Netflix’s subscriber base has crossed 200 million after the video-streaming giant added a record 37 million subscribers in 2020 — its biggest ever year of growth.

It now has 203.1 million subscribers after adding 8.51 million users in Q4 alone, as per its earnings statement. Netflix gained from the global surge in OTT adoption, following the COVID-19 outbreak, which restricted travel and outdoor entertainment.

(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)

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