September 18, 2013 - 11:40 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - YouTube is preparing to introduce a new feature in its mobile apps that will enable videos to be downloaded onto devices for offline viewing, the Guardian reports.
Due to launch in November, the feature was announced on the YouTube Creators blog for channel-owners, and pitched as a way for them to attract even more viewers. "We're always exploring ways to bring more viewers to your content. As part of this effort, later this year we'll launch a new feature on YouTube's mobile apps that will help you reach fans -- even when they're not connected to the Internet. This upcoming feature will allow people to add videos to their device to watch for a short period when an Internet connection is unavailable. So your fans' ability to enjoy your videos no longer has to be interrupted by something as commonplace as a morning commute."
YouTube is keeping further details under wraps for now, promising a further blog post in November on "how this will work for viewers". It's thus unclear how long people will be able to store YouTube videos on their devices, and whether creators will be able to opt out of the feature.
The new capability will build on a feature in the Android version of YouTube's app called Preload, which enables people to "preload videos from your subscribed channels and Watch Later playlist while your phone is charging and on WiFi for smooth playback while you're on the move".
Mobile is an increasingly important platform for YouTube, which says that mobile devices now account more than 1bn daily video views, and more than 25% of the service's "watch time" – which given its stat of more than 6bn hours of video watched a month overall, indicates that at least 1.5bn of those are on mobile devices.
Adding video downloads to YouTube's mobile apps is likely to spark some interesting discussions with copyright owners. Music, for example, is one of the most popular categories on YouTube, but rightsholders in that industry may see offline cacheing as requiring new licensing deals for their music videos.
This kind of feature is increasingly common in a range of entertainment apps, however. Spotify, Deezer, Rdio and other streaming music services have all offered offline cacheing for some time in their mobile apps, mainly as a way for users to avoid blowing through their monthly data limits by streaming over 3G. In the video-on-demand field, meanwhile, the BBC added TV show downloads to its BBC iPlayer app for iPhone and iPad in September 2012, then to the Android version of the app a year later.