So, this is pretty big news. YouTube are relaxing their T&C's to allow users of their mobile apps to download video content and watch it later when or if an internet connection is unavailable. That's right, they are enabling the feature that they have been arguing with Microsoft so vehemently with for forever. The YouTube team announced in a blog post this morning that mobile app users will be able to "add videos to their device to watch for a short period"
The downloading of video content has always been strictly against the site's terms and conditions, although the YouTube Android app does allow you to continue to watch a video if it has been pre-cached, but this is is whole new development. Consumption via mobile devices account for more than 25% of YouTube's global watch time, that's around 1 Billion views per day.
Due for roll out this November, no clue has been given as to the length of time offline content will be made available (we're thinking it will be hours rather than days) or how much each user can download in one session. It'll be interesting to see what restrictions YouTube place on what can and can't be downloaded (perhaps only content you are subscribed to?) and the implications that may or may not have on VoD services by other providers. Stay tuned.