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Netflix Begins Movie Streams to Wii Subscribers

12 Apr, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Netflix April 12 formally began offering subscribers with the Nintendo Wii video game system the opportunity to stream catalog movies and episodic television programming.

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix and Redmond, Wash.-based Nintendo in January announced the partnership that marked the online DVD rental pioneer’s third major video game streaming deal following pacts with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3.

Wii claims to be the fastest-selling home console in history, and reaches more consumers (28 million) than any other device (including Blu-ray Disc players) that currently supports streaming movies from Netflix.

The service reported 12.3 million members at the end of 2009.

“Launching Netflix on the Wii marks a significant advance in the evolution of our service,” said Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings. “Wii has … has meaningfully altered the consumer electronics landscape. Bringing Netflix to Wii catapults us toward our goal of being ubiquitous on the connected devices most popular with consumers.”

To enable their systems to stream TV shows and movies, Wii owners need a broadband Internet connection, a Netflix unlimited membership and a Netflix instant streaming disc for the Wii console.

Netflix members and Wii console owners can receive a free instant streaming disc at www.netflix.com/wii. The discs will be delivered for free by first-class mail, generally one business day after they are requested.

Analyst Michael Pachter with Wedbush Morgan Securities in Los Angeles last week downplayed the significance of the Wii deal, saying that the majority of owners of the game system were not connected to the Internet.

Netflix last week announced revised distribution deals (including 28-day delays for new release DVD and Blu-ray Disc movies) with Universal Studios Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Studio Group, in part to acquire access to improved streaming content – heretofore a complaint by some users.

Netflix reports first quarter results April 21.

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