Netflix just added a very important friend to its network.
Facebook announced Thursday that Reed Hastings, chairman and CEO of Netflix, has joined the company’s board of directors.
“Reed is an entrepreneur and technologist who has led Netflix to transform the way people watch movies and TV,” said Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. “He has built a culture of continuous rapid innovation, something we share and work hard to build every day.”
This isn’t Hastings’ first time high up on the management chain, as he also sits on Microsoft’s board as lead independent director. In addition to being the board member on many non-profits, Hastings also served as president of the California State Board of Education from 2000 to 2004.
Having founded Netflix in 1997, Hastings has seen the on-demand movie and TV company flourish to over 23 million members in the U.S. and Canada. Netflix continues to grow substantially and achieve new milestones. Just a month ago, the company inked a streaming deal with major film studio Miramax, which until then had not made its movies available over any digital subscription service.
Industry experts had suggested since at least April that deeper integration between Facebook and Netflix has been in the works. Whether that means bolstering social recommendation features on Netflix or bringing the film experience to Facebook, nobody can really tell. But with today’s news, we can be sure that something along those lines is still evolving.
What does Facebook get out of the deal? A man experienced with taking a technology giant to the public market.
With reports all but certain that the social networking giant could finally go public sometime in the next half year or so, the company will need all the support it can muster to live up to investors’ expectations. Back in 2002, Hastings took his company to the public market, raising $82.5 million for Netflix on its first day. Impressive, especially for a post-bubble and post-9/11 economy.
Other sitting members of the Facebook board include Zuckerberg; Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz; Jim Breyer of Accel Partners; Donald E. Graham, chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company; and Peter Thiel of Clarium Capital and Founders Fund.
In addition, David Sze of Greylock Partners and Paul Madera of Meritech Capital Partners act as board observers.