In case you missed it, YouTube has finally relaxed its terms and conditions to enable a new feature that lets mobile users download video content for offline viewing, if only for a short time. That way, the video can still be available for viewing in case there’s no internet connection. The actual feature hasn’t been rolled out yet, but when it does it will help to increase the amount of views videos will get and the amount of time viewers can spend watching videos.
This is certainly a welcome development for mobile users who account for 25 percent of YouTube’s global watch time. That equates to about 1 billion views per day.
However, it’s almost certain to grind gears with at least some of the copyright owners who have video channels on YouTube. In fact, according to ReelSEO.com:
…online music giant Vevo will block YouTube’s new offline viewing feature for mobiles, due for release in November. Following the announcement, YouTube Partners were told that they were being given the opportunity to opt out and it looks like Vevo may be one of the first big ones to publicly do so.
Being able to download video content from partners might be a scary proposition, but YouTube has clarified that it is not a means for ripping video and aiding copyright violation and piracy. In fact, according to NDTV Gadgets:
The intent behind rolling out this feature is to give users the ability to continue to watch videos offline in case their Internet connection gets disrupted.
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.
Vevo isn’t expected to be the last partner to opt out of the offline viewing feature, but hopefully, most partners will still be fine with it. After all, there are already a number of streaming services that make this available. Spotify, Rdio and Deezer are just a few examples of music streaming services that offer offline caching so users don’t blow through their data limits on 3G or 4G. On the other hand, this kind of feature might be seen as a new opportunity to work out new licensing agreements, which makes sense considering Vevo’s decision to opt out of it.
The new download for offline viewing feature will start rolling out sometime in November, and according to The Guardian:
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’.
Unfortunately, it isn’t looking good for people who like to watch music videos on YouTube. Vevo is just one of the major copyright holders that have walked away from this feature, but they represent virtually all of the major music labels and it’s very likely that others will follow suit. Still, there’s a bit of hope for watching music videos offline from YouTube. Softpedia.com says:
However, the word is that YouTube does have the right to make music videos from Vevo available offline, but only via a subscription service, which the site hasn’t launched yet.
The relaxation in the T&C is surprising considering YouTube’s hard stance against it. And according to NDTV Gadgets:
…there was a dispute with Microsoft when the Redmond giant enabled downloading of videos on the YouTube app for Windows Phone that it created. Microsoft had to remove that feature and withdraw the app, replacing it with another version, though even the new app is not functional at the time of writing this post.
Still, it’s a welcomed new feature even if you can’t download music videos from official channels.