So here’s a radical idea… Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook should buy Netflix (ticker symbol: NFLX) before Facebook files its prospectus paperwork for a 2012 initial public offering [IPO]! That would really shake things up, and it would combine the social media leader with a solid streaming content provider that needs some changes in its business model. Hulu, Amazon, and iTunes would shudder.
Will Facebook, or others, really let Steve Ballmer and those di-no-saurs at Microsoft (MSFT) snatch this great idea out from under them? They have Xbox 360 and some cloud initiatives – but not a very compelling smart phone… why let them ruin Netflix!?!
So Facebook-ers… all snug in your new Menlo Park offices (goodbye Sun!) — picture this! Facebook’s 200 million users overlap with many of Netflix 23 million subscribers already. Let them watch Netflix movies through an embedded Facebook window keeping them on the FB site longer. The DVD by mail component could include simple targeted Facebook marketing on the stark red envelope. Perhaps users can even have choices of their Netflix streaming ‘mode’ — especially if their watching a TV series. One mode could let them watch their friend feed updates on the side of the content streaming window. Easy to code, fellas!
The Netflix distribution centers for physical discs could remain under their own control and management, just scaled up for the MASSIVE influx of new subscribers that a combined FACEBOOK+NETFLIX would receive. The streaming can be coordinated through Facebook’s own data centers, and be given the world-class cloud upgrades it mayrequire. For those consumers wary of NFLX, the Facebook takeover could be a sign of endorsement for many sitting on the fence after all of Netflix’s recent missteps, blunders, and weirdness. (I am a NFLX subscriber, though!)
Pay for the acquisition in all FB stock, get Wall Street and all the early VCs all psyched – and all the rumblings of a new tech bubble (social media style) will go away. The intended valuation for Facebook will make much more sense. And all the new, amazing, rock-star talent graduating next year will BEG (literally BEG!!!!) to work at Facebook. You’re welcome. [How about this: Send me some pre-IPO shares or options as a consulting fee?]
Postscript: If you wait too long, then Verizon (VZ), Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT), or somebody else will have Netflix and then how will you feel?
BTW, check out this Reuters article from June 2011, when Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix joined Facebook’s board… in preparation for an IPO.
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