Another Sign of Facebook’s Latest Interest in the Media Business: Netflix CEO Hastings Joins Board

After YouTube, Facebook and Netflix are the second and third favorite online video sites among US users, according to a recent report. Facebook has its social features driving growth that is still surprising some analysts, while Netflix has high-quality content that it has figured out how to charge for.

And the latter two companies now have another connection. Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, is joining Facebook’s board of directors. From the statement today:

“Facebook is propelling a fundamental change in how people connect with each other and share all kinds of content,” said Hastings. “I’m looking forward to working with Mark and the rest of the board to help Facebook take advantage of all the opportunities ahead.”

This isn’t just about the place each of these companies have in the video market, of course. Hastings is an experienced executive, as well as a Microsoft board member, and it makes sense for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to have someone like him around as the company considers big-company decisions, like going public.

But Facebook is also increasing its focus on media, including monetization — something Hastings knows all about. Facebook is reportedly launching a music product that will allow third-party streaming services to reach users. Warner Brothers and other movie and television companies have also been also experimenting with selling content to users in apps, via the Facebook Credits virtual currency.

Hastings is also more focused on Facebook. From his interview at AllThingsD earlier this month:

Q: Why isn’t Netflix social yet?

A: It should be. We launched Netflix Friends in 2005. That didn’t work. People want to use Facebook. “We’re working now to figure out the right integration with Facebook” with proper privacy controls. Think of it as a “five year” plan, at least, to integrate into Facebook, social networks.

Facebook and third parties have found good audiences for music and video apps in past years, and we’ve seen culture-specific apps (usually of embeds from elsewhere) made by local developers do well around the world in our AppData tracking service. But licensing issues have helped to slow the natural demand for all types of media that occurs in a social service like Facebook. The Hastings addition could help both companies take advantage of what’s possible with media on Facebook.

The press release, below.


Facebook Names Reed Hastings to Its Board of Directors

Hi – Today Facebook made the following announcement:

Facebook Names Reed Hastings to Its Board of Directors

PALO ALTO, Calif. – June 23 – Facebook® announced today that Reed Hastings, chairman and chief executive officer of Netflix Inc., has joined the company’s board of directors.

“Reed is an entrepreneur and technologist who has led Netflix to transform the way people watch movies and TV,” said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. “He has built a culture of continuous rapid innovation, something we share and work hard to build every day.”

“Facebook is propelling a fundamental change in how people connect with each other and share all kinds of content,” said Hastings. “I’m looking forward to working with Mark and the rest of the board to help Facebook take advantage of all the opportunities ahead.”

With more than 23 million members in the U.S. and Canada, Netflix is the world’s leading Internet subscription service for enjoying movies and TV shows. Hastings founded the company in 1997. Earlier in his career, he founded Pure Atria Software, where he was CEO until the company was acquired by Rational Software Corporation in 1997.

Since 2007, Hastings has also been a member of Microsoft Corp.’s board of directors, and is currently lead independent director. He holds an M.S.C.S. degree from Stanford University and a B.A. from Bowdoin College.

Hastings is also an active educational philanthropist and board member of many non-profits. He was president of the California State Board of Education from 2000 to 2004.

In addition to Zuckerberg, Hastings joins current Facebook board members Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz; Jim Breyer of Accel Partners; Donald E. Graham, chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company; and Peter Thiel of Clarium Capital and Founders Fund.

About Facebook
Founded in February 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment. Facebook is a privately held company and is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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