Last week plenty of rumors were floating around about a potential Microsoft / Netflix partnership. The announcement was supposedly going to happen during the keynote address (by Xbox Live exec John Schappert) at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco last Wednesday. The concept: make it so Netflix’s 7,000 available “Watch Instantly” movies would be viewed easily on your TV via the Xbox 360.
But sadly, this rumor didn’t prove to be accurate (yet); no such announcement was made even if the excitement surrounding the news was anything but restrained. Just check out the comments on any of the sites I linked to above. I couldn’t find anyone thinking this possibility was a bad idea for the consumer. Instead, there was plenty of this:
- “I don’t even use Netflix right now, but I would sign up in a second if I could stream their catalog to my 360! Do it now!!!” (via Gizmodo)
- “I would reactivate my NetFlix account if this was going to happen soon.” (via Gizmodo)
- “I’d probably sign up for Netflix again if this happens. What about you guys?” (via CrunchGear)
- “I would definitely get netflix again if I could get it over my 360.” (via CrunchGear)
- “I totally agree. I have often considered Netflix but never did it for one reason or another. THIS, sells me.” (via Engadget)
- “This would force me to buy a subscription. Do it netflix. You’ll be rolling in $$$.” (via Engadget)
Now, it’s interesting to note that most comments focused on this being a benefit for Netflix (in terms of gaining new customers). Microsoft has already been renting movies through its Xbox Live service for over a year even if the catalog is pretty weak: 300 movies. But I’m doubting that feature has been behind many Xbox 360 purchases.
Netflix, on the other hand, currently has 7,000 movies and TV shows available via its Watch Instantly service. That may seem small compared to the more than 90,000 DVDs in its library, but that 7,000 is on the rise and has more than doubled since the online service went live a little over a year ago. Plus, it’s still a much larger library than most other video-on-demand services available through cable companies.
Of course, most all the sources I quoted above include a relatively tech savvy audience already likely to have an Xbox 360. And I personally think the potential (again, in terms of gaining new customers) is just as strong for Microsoft and wanted to take the chance to agree with this MSNBC article:
“But Netflix is a household name. My parents have a Netflix membership. The company has fended off (at least so far) competitive attempts by everyone from Wal-Mart to Blockbuster. And it has 7.5 million subscribers, many of whom might be convinced to buy an Xbox 360 for the sheer convenience of true on-demand movies – and to not have to mail back those DVDs anymore.” (emphasis added).
An interesting statistic would be just how much overlap there is between the two currently (i.e., how many people are already both an owner of an Xbox 360 and a member of Netflix). For now, all I can say is that I am a Netflix member and would buy an Xbox 360 if this rumor came true. Anyone else?