Nintendo and Netflix announced they will allow Netflix members who are also owners of Nintendo’s Wii home console to instantly watch thousands of movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix directly to their TVs. Netflix is scheduled to go live on the Wii console this spring in the United States at no additional cost to Netflix members who have a plan starting at $8.99 a month, a Wii console and a broadband Internet connection.
The partnership between the two companies will extend the reach of content streamed from Netflix farther than ever before, thanks to the mainstream popularity of the Wii console.
“Our research shows that 86 percent of all U.S. Wii consoles are located in the living room,” said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “The Wii console is the social hub around which friends and family members gather to play games and have fun. Soon both new and longtime Wii owners will enjoy the benefits of Netflix – and a variety of informational and entertainment options – by being Netflix members and connecting their consoles to the Internet.”
To enable their systems to stream content from Netflix, Wii owners will need a Netflix instant-streaming disc for the Wii console, which will be available at no additional cost to Netflix subscribers. The free disc looks and operates the same as a disc-based Wii game, and the entire user experience will feel natural and intuitive to Wii console owners. Netflix members and Wii console owners can now reserve a free instant-streaming disc by going to www.netflix.com/Wii. Once available in the spring, the discs will be delivered for free by first-class mail.
When the instant-streaming disc is inserted into a member’s Wii system, an array of movie and TV choices will be displayed on their TV screen. These titles will be conveniently organized into a variety of categories based on members’ personal preferences and will include popular genres, new arrivals and members’ individual instant Queues. Using the Wii Remote controller, members will be able to choose a movie or TV episode to watch from their instant Queues or pick one directly from any of the lists. They will also have the ability to read synopses and rate movies, and will have the option of fast-forwarding and rewinding their selection.
RBR-TVBR observation: Needless to say, this will put a crimp in the VOD biz for cable and satellite, just given the popularity of the Wii. It’s also just another example of internet television taking a foothold in the living room. For the consumer, ipTV is good because the price competition it brings to the fore may make things a bit more affordable.