YouTube announces offline video feature for Indian mobile users

youtube-userToday, YouTube has launched a new offline feature for its Indian market, making some content avilable offline. The move is to improve the experience for mobile users, while attempting to curb their mobile data charges incurred in the process.

The new feature allows users to “take a video offline”, using WiFi or their data plan, to watch later. To do this, simply sign in and, on a video with the feature enabled, tap the offline button under the video frame to temporarily download the video. After that, you can watch the video as many times as you like for upto 48 hours, without having to buffer it again.

John Harding, YouTube’s Vice President of Engineering, said the company has seen over 40 percent of its traffic from India come in from mobile devices. “By launching this offline experience, we hope to help people move past the challenges of data connection, speed and cost to enjoy a smooth, buffer-free version of YouTube,” he adds.

Content from major local production houses like T-Series, Saregama and Yashraj Films will have content available in offline mode. The move is part of YouTube’s recent efforts to make their services more accessible to mobile users in the country. This follows soon after their tie-up with Tata DoCoMo earlier this year to launch the YouTube recharge, offering special data plans for the websites avid users.

Over 10,000 Indian films are currently on YouTube and over 250,000 Indian songs. According to YouTube’s analysts, Indians watch 5 billion videos on YouTube per month and are expected to be the second largest market in the world, for video content, by 2015, larger even than the American user base.