Netflix is enhancing its downloads functionality with a new feature called ‘Downloads For You’, to help users discover more content.
Currently available to Android users across the world, the feature will automatically download shows or movies recommended to users based on their tastes and the amount of storage they set aside for this. The feature will also be tested soon on iOS devices, Netflix said in a statement.
Users can choose the amount of space they want to allocate to download content on the devices for each of the five profiles in their account. Netflix noted that this space will not be used for shows or movies that are manually downloaded, which will be available separately in the downloads tab.
This launch essentially builds on Netflix’s Smart Downloads feature, introduced in July 2018, which deletes downloaded episodes of a television show after the user has finished watching it and automatically downloads the next episode. Like that feature, Downloads For You will work only when the user is connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Netflix has been taking several steps to improve content discovery. Last month, the firm said it will be rolling out Shuffle Play for all its subscribers across the globe in the first half of the year, after testing it for several months.
During the company’s earnings conference call in January 2021, Netflix’s chief operating officer and chief product officer Greg Peters had said that sometimes users just come to the service and “they’re not really sure what they want to watch. So we’ve had the opportunity to try new mechanisms to sort of help our members in that particular state.”
YouTube’s music streaming service YouTube Music also offers a similar smart download feature to its premium users, through which it automatically downloads up to 500 songs for offline listening. YouTube’s main app also offers download suggestions to users, but doesn’t automatically download the videos.
In India, Netflix competes with players like Disney+Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Essel Group’s Zee5, Times Internet’s MX Player, Sony Pictures Network’s SonyLIV, Viacom18’s Voot, and Reliance-backed ALT Balaji among others.