Netflix has pulled back the curtain a little on its progress connecting its Watch Instantly streaming feature to TVs through its device partners. It and Microsoft have announced that since November '08,1 million Xbox LIVE Gold members have enabled the WI feature, consuming 1.5 billion minutes of movies and TV episodes.
By any measure this is an impressive start. For perspective, this may well be the largest number of people who have connected broadband to their TVs using an external device. More have probably connected their computers directly to their TVs, but as for devices I can't imagine any other having close to a million (Apple TV? Vudu? Roku?). In addition, simple math suggests that these users would already be watching the equivalent of around 1 movie or so per week (1.5 billion minutes divided by 1 million Xbox users divided by 12 weeks = 125 minutes viewed per user per week). Obviously this is just an average and also doesn't account for the ramp up in users over the 3 months. I think consumption will steadily increase especially if Netflix can expand WI's library of 12K titles.
Xbox must represent the largest footprint of Netflix-connected devices, simply because the number of Xbox LIVE Gold members is far larger than the number of owners of TiVo or the Blu-ray players that connect to Netflix. The Xbox adoption rate underscores the validity of Netflix's approach to make WI a value add for its subscribers and to integrate with third-party devices.
VideoNuze readers know I've become extremely enthusiastic about Netflix's broadband activities. The Xbox numbers are a positive early indicator of success. I only see more good news coming down the road.
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