An impressive milestone for movie rental service Netflix: Some one million subscribers have downloaded and activated the Netflix (NFLX) app for Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360 video game console.
In less than three months, Xbox users have streamed more than 1.5 billion minutes of Netflix movies and TV shows.
What does this mean?
- That’s an average 1,500 minutes per person. Or about 25 hours. Even over three months, that’s impressive — the average Hulu viewer watches about 100 minutes (or 1.7 hours) of Web TV/movies per month, according to comScore.
- The Internet-connected video game console is an effective tool to get people to watch Web video. Microsoft (and now Sony) are right to focus on this. Nintendo ought to get with the program. (Netflix is an Xbox exclusive, by the way.)
- Cable companies don’t need to get too worried yet — 1 million people is still small compared to the roughly 40 million digital cable subscribers in the U.S. (And they’re still relying on cable for broadband Internet.)
- But cable companies do need to start thinking about expanding their free on-demand movie and TV watching services to avoid getting disrupted by Netflix and others, especially as Netflix expands its catalogue of streaming content.
- And cable companies are right to start thinking about charging for Internet based on consumption — to encourage customers to keep using their cable TV boxes — not the Internet — for long-form and HD video.
One interesting stat Netflix isn’t sharing: The per cent of these Xbox users who are new to Netflix. As in, people who subscribed to Netflix specifically because they could watch movies via Xbox. We don’t think it’s the majority of the 1 million, but even if it’s a few hundred thousand, that’s really good news for Netflix.