We caught up with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings at the movie rental company’s event where it awarded a $1 million prize after a contest aimed at improving the accuracy of movie recommendations. He spoke about his hopes of working with Apple on the iPhone, the possibility that YouTube will beef up its movie service, and the future of the DVD.
Reuters: What will Netflix subscribers gain from the improvements in the recommendation system?
Hastings: It’s doubling the quality of our movie recommendation and that helps our subscribers get more enjoyment from movies. Because more often they love the movie they watch. More often the movies recommended will will turn out to be movies that you love. If you watch a couple of movies and don’t like many, you start to watch (sports and other programming). If every movie is incredible, you start to watch more.
Reuters: Netflix video streams on Microsoft’s Xbox Live system. What about the PS3 and Wii?
Hastings: Eventually we want to be on all the game consoles, all the Blu-ray players, all the Internet TVs. So we are working in parallel with all of those efforts. Currently our Xbox deal is exclusive and we haven’t characterized it more than that.
Reuters: Any plans to work in partnership with Apple and the iPhone?
Hastings: 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.