YouTube's New Offline Feature Could Boost Video Views for Businesses
Pretty soon, viral video addicts will be able to watch their favorite YouTube clips even when they're unable to get online. The Google-owned video-sharing site announced its plans late yesterday to allow users to download content to their mobile devices and watch them later -- even without an internet connection.
The free feature, to be rolled out this November, will let users keep video clips to be viewed offline on smartphones and other mobile devices for up to 48 hours. The feature can be particularly be useful, for instance, for commuters who miss navigating the site when offline and traveling by airplane or subway.
The feature could be similar to Spotify's Offline Mode, a paid feature that lets customers download a certain amount of music for a limited time to be listened to when they're without an internet connection.
YouTube says the new feature can also be a benefit for content creators and businesses, whose temporarily saved content will presumably be viewed more frequently. That means more views for uploaders and more eyeballs, and overall advertising revenue, for YouTube.
"We're always exploring ways to bring more viewers to your content," the company said in a blog post. "So your fans' ability to enjoy your videos no longer has to be interrupted by something as commonplace as a morning commute."
YouTube says it will still advertise on the offline clips and that uploaders who don't wish to have their content made available offline will be able to opt out.
YouTube, of course, says it has more than 1 billion unique visitors who watch more than 6 billion hours of video each month on the site. On mobile, YouTube has more than 1 billion mobile views every day, accounting for more than 25 percent of total watch time on the site.
Benjamin Kabin is a Brooklyn-based technology journalist who specializes in security, startups, venture capital and social media.