Netflix extends Watch Instantly to Wii

Adds to deals with Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft XBox 360

NEW YORK -- Netflix is extending its Watch Instantly online streaming video service to Nintendo's Wii gaming console starting in the spring. It has similar deals with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's XBox 360.

The companies on Wednesday announced a deal for the streaming service that lets subscribers choose from a catalog of movies and TV shows. It comes at no additional cost to U.S. Netflix members who subscribe to the $8.99 a month plan or higher.

The Wii's installed base is about 26 million units in the U.S., according to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter.

"The potential market for Internet-capable consumer electronic devices is quite large, and (we) believe that Netflix can drive new subscriber growth in excess of 1 million customers annually through these arrangements," he said.

But Pachter added he is "not convinced" that the addition of the Wii will have "as significant an impact as did the Xbox 360, nor as significant as we expect for the PS3."

He estimates that fewer than 20% of Wii owners have connected their consoles to the Internet, compared with more than 75% of Xbox 360 and more than 80% of PS3 owners.
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