LOS ANGELES Online DVD company Netflix said on Thursday that one million Microsoft Xbox 360 video game console users have activated Netflix's movie streaming service in the past three months since the two companies formed a partnership.
Netflix said the Xbox LIVE community has watched 1.5 billion minutes of movies and TV episodes through its Watch Instantly video service, but did not say how many subscribers it has actually gained from the partnership.
Netflix, best known for renting DVDs by mail, is the only company offering a subscription-based streaming video service as other rivals like Amazon.com, Apple, and Blockbuster compete with a la carte, pay-per-view rentals.
Analysts have been watching for data on the alliance as an important gauge of the emerging market for movies delivered over the Web, particularly as traditional media companies like Walt Disney this week have reported declining DVD sales and said the traditional business for delivering home video needs to be revised.
Netflix last month said its stronger-than-expected quarterly results were propelled by growth in its Web video streaming service and that streaming was "energizing" its growth.
Netflix has offered the Watch Instantly streaming service for over two years, but it was originally only available on PCs. It has since offered streaming Netflix video from the Internet through various devices, including the Roku settop boxes, the Xbox, LG Electronics products and others.
The Netflix application offers Xbox LIVE Gold members, who pay $50 a year to Microsoft for various different applications, the ability to instantly view content from Netflix on a TV via the Xbox 360 system if they are also members of Netflix service, priced at around $9 per month to include Watch Instantly unlimited streaming.
Netflix's library of about 12,000 titles for instant viewing includes mostly older Hollywood titles as major movie studios have resisted making new releases available digitally for subscription services.
Netflix offers newer titles on DVD or high-definition Blu-ray Disc through its mail-order service, through a library of more than 100,000 titles.
(Reporting by Sue Zeidler; Editing by Gary Hill)