Netflix Weighs Expansion in Hotels With Marriott TV Service

Hotels may be the next stop on Netflix Inc.’s quest to build the world’s first global online television network.

Marriott International Inc. is letting guests at eight of its properties access Netflix, the biggest subscription-streaming service, Hulu and Pandora through their television sets, according to the hotel company. The move is part of an effort to construct a new in-room entertainment service.

Marriott is one of several hotel chains that have considered offering Netflix to guests, according to an individual close to the talks who asked not to be identified discussing the matter. Adding on-demand entertainment can help hotels attract guests who want more than standard TV. Netflix would gain another way to satisfy existing customers and to introduce its service to new ones.

“We have invited leading technology companies and content providers to work with us to design the next wave in in-room entertainment focusing on on-demand programming,” said John Wolf, a spokesman for Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott. “We are currently offering guests in eight test hotels the opportunity to stream their content through our high-definition TVs from multiple content providers.”

Marriott has a global footprint of more than 700,000 rooms in 79 countries and territories that Netflix and the other online players could potentially exploit as they expand.

Package Options

While hotel guests can already access Netflix on laptops and tablets via Wi-Fi, fuller integration with guest-room TVs presents an opportunity for both Netflix and Marriott to generate added revenue. They have considered various ways to offer the service, such as including Netflix in a premium Internet package available to guests for a fee.

Netflix, based in Los Gatos, California, is scheduled to report earnings Tuesday. The company, with more than 50 million streaming subscribers worldwide, will expand to Australia and New Zealand in March.

Hulu LLC, with owners including Walt Disney Co., Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox Inc., offers an ad-supported and a premium monthly service. Pandora Media Inc., based in Oakland, California, offers Web radio.

Netflix has expanded faster than its burgeoning rival at Amazon.com Inc., which today announced plans to produce and distribute movies. Netflix announced the same ambition in September 2014 and will release its first movie later this year.

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