Nintendo: 1 million Netflix users on Wii

Movie service a hit as Wii passes milestone quicker than Xbox 360

Almost 1 million Wii owners have "participated" in the Netflix movie streaming system in the US, according to comments by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime.

Speaking on CNBC, as reported by Yahoo! Finance, Fils-Aime's figure implied a faster sign-up rate than the Xbox 360, which took around three months to reach the same figure.

This success flies in the face of analyst predictions that the Wii launch of the service would have only a limited impact. Previously Webush Securities' Michael Pachter predicted that "the Wii installed base will embrace the Netflix service only gradually".

Pachter estimated that less than 20 per cent of Wii users were connected online, compared to 75 to 80 per cent for the Xbox 360. However, a recent study by The Diffusion Group suggested that the figure for the Wii was actually as high as 54 per cent.

With more than 30 million Wii consoles sold in the US though, the take up so far for Netflix is still only a small percentage of the total possible audience.

The Wii service was launched on April 12 and unlike its implementation on the Xbox 360 requires a disc provided by Netflix and does not display films in HD. The PlayStation 3 also required a Blu-ray disc to run the software at launch.

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Latest comments (9)

John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam8 years ago
Michael Pachter in wildly inaccurate prediction shocker!
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Stephen McCarthy Studying Games Technology, Kingston University8 years ago
more small kids owned the wii, and do not know how or the mum/dad do not know how to get it online.
that why they was givng points and free games to people who got someone wii online.
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Jack Loftus Contributing Editor, Gizmodo8 years ago
@John: More reason why and others, who no doubt wish to be considered respectable gaming publications, should no longer quote him. There are far better, far more informed "experts" in the field that they could use as sources. Use them.
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Neil Millstone Director, White Bat Games8 years ago
I would challenge anyone to find anything Michael Pachter has said which turned out to be true, apart from the really obvious stuff that anyone in the street would tell you.

I seem to remember him saying the Wii would be a failure shortly before it went on to sell more than any other home console this generation.

And the idea that only small kids own the Wii? I thought their advertising was aimed as much at older people who don't play games any more. These people are very likely to be interested in Netflix.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
Contrary to popular belief held by overexposed analysts and fanboys, the Wii has an incredibly diverse audience that spans all age ranges and game playing habits.

Netflix doing well on Wii should have only surprised those blind to the facts or are intent to smear the console out of jealousy of success (you'd be amazed how many people fall into this category that actually work in our industry).

Ironic that our industry demands to be accepted by the mainstream as a legitimate entertainment industry filled with professionals wanting others to enjoy their art is yet instead filled with the perpetual immaturity.
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Michael Pachter Research Analyst, Wedbush Securities8 years ago
I think you should look at the link you posted in the article.

I said that Netflix activations wouldn't jump dramatically. The U.S. installed base for the Wii is 28 million, or around 25% of all households. Netflix has over 13 million customers, or around 12% of all households. The overlap, therefore, is probably around 3 million (12% of Wii owners). I would hardly say that 1 million users represents a major impact, as the bulk of these are likely the existing 3 million Wii owners who are already Netflix customers.

I made my comment in a note on Netflix, which I cover in my job. I predicted that Netflix would gain 1 million NEW customers this year from the Wii installed base, but in the context of the company's more than 3 million expected new subscribers, the Wii is likely to have a more limited impact than Netflix investors expect.

Reggie's comments that 1 million signed up in only a few weeks, compared to the Xbox audience, which took three months, is hardly a fair comparison. When the service launched on the Xbox, only around 20% of Netflix customers had tried streaming; now the figure is over 50% on a customer base that is around 50% larger. We should expect that many of the 3 million Wii owners who are already Netflix customers would try the streaming service, and 1 million sounds about right.

Let's see how many NEW customers come from the Wii audience. I'm sticking with my 1 million estimate for this year.

And, by the way, I challenge The Diffusion Group's statistics. ;-)
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Well with so many parents buying the system for their kids this type of news should be expected.

You know Pachter anything to get his name in the headlines!
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Antony Cain Lecturer in Computer Games Design, Sunderland College8 years ago
He's also one post above you ;)

Cue the cheesey "He's behind me isn't he?" line
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
Welcome to the community, Michael.

I do believe NPD data applied to your own online usage projections for the other consoles suggests the real Wii online usage figure might be between your sub-20% and the Diffusion Group's 54%

Consider your projection of 75% of X360 consoles in the US are used online. NPD states that their research shows that 50% of all home console online usage comes from the X360 while 30% is from the Wii. Given these numbers I tabulate that 25-30% of US Wii's are used online.

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