Companies to discuss partner opportunities

Netflix topper Reed Hastings has joined the board of directors of Facebook as the two companies ramp up talks about how the streaming service can provide video on the social media behemoth.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday: “Reed is an entrepreneur and technologist who has led Netflix to transform the way people watch movies and TV. He has built a culture of continuous rapid innovation, something we share and work hard to build every day.”

Since Hastings founded Netflix in 1997, the service’s subs have grown to 23 million in the U.S. and Canada while most recently putting its emphasis on online video versus the legacy biz of DVD rentals. Hastings also serves on the board of Microsoft.

“Facebook is propelling a fundamental change in how people connect with each other and share all kinds of content,” Hastings said. “I’m looking forward to working with Mark and the rest of the board to help Facebook take advantage of all the opportunities ahead.”

One of those may be using some of Facebook’s social media features on Netflix’s site. Also, as Netflix begins to dabble into creating its own original programming, Hastings must see Facebook’s 500 million active users as an enormous opportunity for new shows.

One thing is clear: Hastings can provide valuable counsel to Zuckerberg as Facebook moves ahead with plans to go public in the next year or so. Hastings took Netflix public in 2002 and the stock has soared.

Besides Zuckerberg, Facebook’s other board members include: Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz; Jim Breyer of Accel Partners; Donald E. Graham, chairman of the Washington Post Co.; and Peter Thiel of Clarium Capital and Founders Fund.

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