Just in case anyone had any doubts that Facebook is becoming a major media business, the company announced today that it's appointing Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to its board of directors.
The press release doesn't offer much explanation for the appointment, aside from the boilerplate flattery that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg offers for Hastings, and that Hastings offers for Facebook. Hastings seems like a solid choice since he has successfully taken a Web company public, and Facebook is probably going to have its own initial public offering in the next year or two. He's already on the board of Microsoft, a major Facebook investor. And this isn't the first time Zuckerberg has chosen a media executive as an adviser. The board already includes Washington Post CEO Don Graham, who was an early Facebook supporter.
But Hastings' appointment might also point to a closer relationship between Netflix and Facebook. The social network is reportedly working on a music service that will include a partnership with music startup Spotify, so there may be an opportunity to do something similar with movies—Warner Bros. has already led the way by allowing fans to rent and watch movies from Facebook. Netflix seems like the obvious partner for this service.
Hastings, meanwhile, has said that he has a "five year investment path" to make Netflix more social, which includes deeper integration with Facebook. It's not clear whether "join Facebook's board" was part of the plan, but if so, mission accomplished.