Netflix now allows users of its Android app to start watching movies and shows before they have downloaded completely. Previously, subscribers had to wait for a download to finish before they were able to watch it. The company has plans to test the feature on iOS devices in the coming months.
The new feature is being made available to Netflix subscribers worldwide. However, much like Netflix's original decision to enable downloads for offline viewing, it's very much geared toward emerging markets with slow or unreliable internet connectivity. "We always want to make it easier for members to access their favorite series or movies regardless of language, device, connectivity, or location," said Netflix VP of product innovation Keela Robison in a blog post.
One of those markets that has proven to be particularly challenging for Netflix is India, where the company is facing strong competition from Disney and Amazon. Recent data from Opensignal shows that wireless connectivity across India has been improving, but that a large number of mobile subscribers still struggle with slow streaming and download speeds.