Facebook announced Thursday it has added Reed Hastings, the chairman and CEO of Netflix, to its board of directors.
The addition of Hastings to Facebook’s boardroom is the latest signal of the Palo Alto, California-based social networking giant’s growing focus on the entertainment industry.
Although Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has asserted that he has no plans to turn his company into a music of movie studio, the company is clearly keen to become more of a media hub. As Om Malik reported here earlier this week, Facebook is planning to add a new “music” tab to users’ homepages that will lead to a full “music dashboard” where users will be able to stream, play and share songs. Last week, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts unveiled his company’s new integration with Facebook, an application that adds social networking features directly onto the television user interface. And earlier this year, Netflix began rolling out its own Facebook integration, which allows users to connect their Facebook and Netflix accounts.
Along with Zuckerberg and Hastings, Facebook’s board is comprised of 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.
Of course, it’s worth noting that Reed Hastings is not purely an entertainment executive. Netflix as a company takes a lot of pride in its technical operations, and Hastings himself has a ton of tech cred: a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a long history in the software industry, and a current seat on Microsoft’s board of directors. Facebook, which has made no secret of its plans to IPO, may have also brought Hastings on board for his public market prowess. As founder and CEO, Hastings has led two companies through initial public offerings: Pure Software in 1995 and Netflix in 2002.
One thing is sure: Netflix and Hastings certainly have solid footing in the entertainment, technology and financial worlds. It appears Facebook is looking to strike a similar balance.
Photo is of Reed Hastings on stage at NewTeeVee Live 2009 in San Francisco.