Netflix’s Chances of a Nintendo Deal Really Were “Excellent”

Published on January 13, 2010
by Peter Kafka

mario movieDon’t accuse Reed Hastings of tipping his hand. At least not all the way.

Last Friday, at an onstage interview I conducted with the Netflix CEO, I asked him when his company might start offer streaming video for Nintendo’s Wii game console, as it does for Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360 and Sony’s (SNE) Playstation3.

The chances were “excellent,” Hastings said. “These things have a natural rhythm, and these are things that I think will work out over time.”

Another way Hastings could have answered the question, if he wanted to be a little more forthright: “It’s a done deal.”

Netflix and Nintendo are formally announcing the pact today, and Wii owners will be able to stream movies to their TV sets via the console sometime this spring, the companies say.

It’s an obvious move for both parties, but it’s particularly good one for Netflix (NFLX) since it offers the company a chance to introduce itself to some 26 million Wii owners–more than double the company’s 11 million subscriber base.

Netflix is slowly transforming itself from a company that mails DVDs to customers to one that streams video directly to their homes. Hastings says that 50 percent of his customers have tried the streaming service option, and game console owners have been particularly receptive.

If you want to scour Hastings’s comments for clues to other deals that may be in the offing, be my guest. Here are all 36 minutes of our chat, which took place during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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