In a joint announcement, Microsoft and Netflix have put out some numbers on the success of Netflix’s ‘Watch Instantly’ Internet TV service on Microsoft’s XBox 360 games console. 1.5 billion minutes of Netflix content has been streamed, with a total of one million Xbox Live Gold Members activating Netflix on their accounts. Considering that Netflix on XBox only went live three months or so ago, that’s pretty impressive by anybody’s measure.
To put things into context, however, Streaming Media’s Dan Rayburn has done some interesting back of the envelope math:
- Based on Netflix’s own published technical details, Rayburn says that its Content Delivery Network (CDN) partners Limelight Networks and Level 3 combined have delivered nearly 25 million GB of data.
- While 1.5 billion minutes of streaming content is “a huge number”, it still pales into insignificance compared to traditional DVD rentals. “If we use the numbers Netflix has on their website, they ship around 730 million DVDs a year. If we use an average of 120 minutes per DVD, Netflix ships roughly 88 billion minutes of video in the mail”, writes Rayburn.
- And in terms of 1 million XBox Live Netflix activations, Rayburn offers up a caveat. “Keep in mind that does not mean one million unique consoles since every Xbox Live account can contain multiple profiles or members.”
Nonetheless, these numbers demonstrate that the XBox 360 is by the far the most important set-top box or other Internet-connected device for Netflix’s Internet TV strategy (aside from the humble laptop, perhaps).
“That really comes as no surprise considering that to date, Microsoft has sold nearly 14 million XBOX 360 consoles in the U.S., which is far more than the Roku, TiVo, Blu-ray players and broadband enabled TVs combined”, says Rayburn.
It also explains why ‘Watch Instantly’ on XBox 360 remains a games console exclusive for Microsoft. So don’t expect Netflix to team up with Sony’s PlayStation 3 or Ninendo’s Wii anytime soon.