Facebook Friends Netflix

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings has joined Facebook’s board, paving the way for the social network to more deeply integrate video sharing on its site.

“Reed is an entrepreneur and technologist who has led Netflix to transform the way people watch movies and TV,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive.

The move is the latest indication of Facebook’s growing interest in bringing video streaming to its social network. The company struck a deal with Warner Bros. this year to stream a number of films through its site, including “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

Earlier this month, the two companies were rumoured to be in partnership talks, which Hastings’ new closeness with Facebook may indicate. Netflix could feed Facebook videos, which would give the social network access to a wide range of content and jump-start its video ambitions.

Conversely, Facebook may tie into Netflix to give the video giant more of a social texture. Despite the company’s famous “suggestion engine,” it hasn’t done much to tie into the social matrix that’s such a critical part of the movie viewing experience.

Some analysts speculate Hastings’ addition to Facebook’s board is a sign of an impending Facebook initial public offering. Zuckerberg recently told Reuters that an IPO was “inevitable,” and Hastings, which steered Netflix through its IPO in 2002, would be a valuable advisor during the process.

Some estimates value the social networking company at more than $100 billion.

An IPO’s cash influx may prove valuable as Facebook squares off against Google for dominance on the Internet. The company’s rumoured “Project Spartan” could also pit it against Apple for control of how iOS users access mobile apps.

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