Netflix Working on Deep Facebook Integration
Speaking of its evolution from a DVD-by-mail service to a provider of streaming video on a multitude of devices, Netflix revealed in its earnings report on Wednesday that it’s “working on an extensive Facebook integration.”
That comes as little surprise to us, since the company posted a job listing for a “Facebook Integration – Engineer/Architect” back in December.
What’s interesting, however, is the Netflix’s evolving thinking about the future of its business. The company goes on to say in its report that, “we are starting internally to think of our available market as the number of active mobile phones in a territory … because that is the number of people who have the means to subscribe to a service like ours.” The company already has apps for iPhone and Windows Phone, and confirmed it will have apps available for some Android devices later this year.
Beyond mobile, Netflix is also benefiting from the growth of connected devices, noting that “Windows and Mac laptops, Sony PS3, Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo Wii – are the most popular devices for watching instantly from Netflix.” Interestingly, it says that Apple TV has already passed iPad in terms of the hours its customers spend viewing content.
Facebook integration, of course, would make all of that significantly more social, with obvious integration possibilities including the ability to “like” movies, share Instant Queues or get suggestions based on what your friends watch. In turn, we could see Netflix’s growth accelerate even further beyond the 7.7 million new subscribers added in 2010 (versus 2.9 million in 2009, with more than 20 million now in total).
All of that said, there are also a few reasons to be less optimistic about Netflix’s prospects, namely competition from the likes of Hulu, Apple and Amazon. There’s also the high price the company pays for content, though it notes its rapid subscriber growth is helping keep its library competitive.
For the moment, however, it would appear that Netflix is positioned to keep riding a number of big trends in tech and entertainment, and we’d be surprised if it falls short of its target of 21.9 million to 22.8 million total subscribers by the end of the first quarter.