The rise of Netflix has all but ruined Blockbuster’s chain of brick and mortar video stores, and with movie streaming now at the forefront of Netflix’s business plans, its only natural to wonder when a Netflix app might be coming to the iPhone.
Despite some vague reports that Netflix would be coming to the iPhone in 2010, a recent interview with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings suggests that while the iPhone may be a streaming option for the company down the line, it’s currently focusing on other streaming initiatives for the time being. When asked about a partnership with Apple regarding the iPhone, Hastings responded:
It’s something that’s likely to come over time. But nothing in the short term. (With) movie watching, we are not focused on mobile yet, but (instead) on the TV, on Blu-ray and on the video game consoles. We will get to mobile eventually, including the iPhone.
Netflix’s calculated strategy of not overextending into mobile makes a whole lot of sense for a number of reasons. First, the ability to stream movies is still relatively new, and while it can easily be done via one’s computer, the natural extension of that is to enable movie streaming via TV sets and connected console boxes first. Netflix already has a deal with Microsoft to stream movies via the xBox 360, but there’s a lot more ground to cover in that area before looking at other mediums.
And second, it logistically makes no sense right now for Netflix to contemplate an iPhone app given AT&T’s current broadband infrastructure and its struggles to even keep up with user demand for web based content, let alone bandwidth intensive movie streaming. There is, of course, the potential for wi-fi streaming, but that’s more of a compromise than a long term solution.