Netflix’s CEO just confirmed one long-hoped-for rumor: Netflix will be on the iPhone. It just won’t be coming soon. Before the company tackles the tricky business of 3G broadband streaming, it’s aiming to get on the other screens in your life.
While speaking about the $1 million movie recommendations prize, Netflix’s Reed Hastings spoke to Reuters about bigger matters to do with the company, and he revealed a few nuggets that have perked up the internets. When asked about the Netflix-XBox 360 streaming movie partnership, Hastings said that once the XBox exclusivity period was up, the company’s aim was to ultimately be on “all the game consoles.” That’s great news for PS3 and Wii owners for sure, but it’s just a taster of where Netflix thinks its online streaming system is going.
Hastings also said his sights were set on “all the Blu-ray players, all the internet TVs” and confirmed partnership efforts were underway. It’s a sensible plan, building up an all-digital business model piece-by-piece before the current DVD rentals market fades away (which Netflix believes will happen after a peak in five years) and leaves the company floundering–as Blockbuster’s just experienced.
But the key news for Apple fans is that once Netflix has got its business up and running on the other display screens we all use day to day (TV via DVD, PC/games machine) it will turn its attention to mobile services. And that almost definitely means an iPhone app: “it’s something that’s likely to come over time. But nothing in the short term” Hastings noted.
Some might question the wisdom of this plan, given the stellar explosion of the smartphone business thanks to Apple’s device. But it’s probably sensible given that no one expects AT&T to react happily to the idea of all that streaming movie data suddenly loading up their already strained network. But once Netflix is a streaming movie supplier of larger scale, and a force to be reckoned with in its own right, it’ll be able to have much more sway in the industry…and achieving an iPhone app will be much simpler.