Netflix Reportedly Removing Offline Viewing Downloads for Ad-Supported Tier

By Jessica Lerner 

Could downloading Netflix shows for offline viewing be eliminated in the streamer’s new AVOD model?

It appears so.

Bloomberg reports that Netflix will eliminate the feature subscribers enjoy on its regular service when it launches its new ad-supported tier.


Netflix could launch its ad-support tier as early as the end of the year, but Bloomberg reports the new service is already reflected in code hidden within the iPhone app.

“Downloads available on all plans except Netflix with ads,” per text in the app discovered by developer Steve Moser and shared with Bloomberg.

The code also indicates that playback controls won’t be accessible during ad breaks, and customers won’t be able to skip ads, a common practice in the streaming industry.

However, the service won’t be available for several months, so it’s possible the strategy could change.

“We are still in the early days of deciding how to launch a lower priced, ad-supported option and no decisions have been made,” a Netflix rep told Variety. “So this is all just speculation at this point.”

With this news, it’s becoming clearer that Netflix’s AVOD model won’t simply be akin to its regular plan with ads. Even if it doesn’t prevent customers from downloading content to their devices for offline viewing, Netflix has already said not all of its content will be offered on the ad-supported tier.

Ad-supported tiers are a growing trend in the streaming TV industry, with the alternative offering customers a cheaper choice in the face of rising prices for content.

Competing services, including Hulu, HBO Max and Peacock, already use ad-supported tiers to maintain audiences. And Netflix’s ad-supported tier is part of the streamer’s strategy to find a new source of revenue growth as it battles declining subscriber numbers and heightened competition from other media titans like Disney, Amazon and Warner Bros. Discovery.