In a joint press release issued early this morning, Microsoft and Netflix announced that to date, Netflix members have streamed 1.5 billion minutes worth of videos to the Xbox 360 console. Considering the Netflix streaming service has only been available to the Xbox 360 console for the past three months, I think anyone would view that as a huge number with great success early on. To put that number into perspective as it pertains to bits delivered, since we know the technical details on how Netflix encodes videos, since November, content delivery companies Limelight Networks and Level 3 combined have delivered nearly 25 million GB of data. That's some serious traffic.
While the 1.5 billion minutes is huge, it's still very small when compared to the total minutes of content they ship via their DVD business. If we use the numbers Netflix has on their website, they ship around 730 million DVDs a year. If we use an average of 120 minutes per DVD, Netflix ships roughly 88 billion minutes of video in the mail, if I did my math right. So the streaming service is still very small in the overall picture but clearly has some really nice traction in only three months time.
The release also stated that Netflix's application for the Xbox 360 has been downloaded and activated by one million Xbox Live Gold Members but keep in mind that does not mean one million unique consoles since every Xbox Live account can contain multiple profiles or members. UPDATED: Microsoft's PR folks responded to my question on the one million number and said that the number of multiple gold account houses (on a single console versus two), where both accounts also have a Netflix subscription, has to be rare. So they wouldn't expect the correlative number of consoles to be anything less than around 95-98 percent of 1 million, if not higher.
These viewing numbers clearly highlight that the Xbox 360 console is by far the most important broadband connected device for the success of Netflix's streaming service. That really comes as no surprise considering that to date, Microsoft has sold nearly 14 million Xbox 360 consoles in the U.S., which is far more than the Roku, TiVo, Blu-ray players and broadband enabled TVs combined.