We reported earlier this week on YouTube’s plans to allow people to download videos to their mobile devices for offline viewing in the YouTube app.
But how will this work, and what will it mean for the music rightsholders whose videos make up a significant chunk of viewing on Google’s service? YouTube has been emailing partners with more details about how people will be able to “add to device” certain videos and playlists.
“With this, if a user experiences a loss of connectivity, they will still be able to watch the videos that they’ve added to their device for a limited period of up to 48 hours,” explains the email, as published by All Things Digital.
“If the device is offline for more than 48 hours the content cannot be viewed offline until the device reconnects. Once connected, the offline window refreshes and the viewer is able to watch the content again.” Views of these videos will be added to their playcounts as usual, and in-stream ads will also still run.
The key point: channel owners will be able to disable the feature, although they’ll have to actively do this: “By default, all of your content will be enabled for the functionality,” explains YouTube.
“You will be able to disable by: partner, and available before launch, by asset, video and country. When you disable at the content owner or partner level, we apply this policy across all your videos, regardless of whether they are enabled at the asset, video and country level.”
We suspect plenty of music videos may have the “add to device” feature disabled, at least when it launches in November. Why? Well, it’s not so long since many music videos weren’t even streamable from YouTube on mobile devices due to licensing.
But the intriguing thing here is whether the new feature hints at YouTube’s long-rumoured plans for a dedicated music subscription service, for which some degree of offline access would seem to be a necessity. November may bring more news on that front.