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Netflix Weighs Expansion in Hotels With Marriott Testing Service

(Bloomberg) -- 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 in eight hotels access Netflix and other streaming media services such as Hulu and Pandora through their televisions, the company said. 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’s streaming video service to guests, according to an individual close to the talks who asked not to be identified discussing the matter. Revamped entertainment offerings can help hotels attract guests who want more than the standard televisions channels while providing Netflix another way to satisfy existing customers and introducing 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 whether it is Netflix, Hulu or Pandora.”

While hotel guests can already access Netflix on their laptops and tablets if they connect via Wi-Fi, the new style of integration presents an opportunity for both hotels and Netflix to generate additional revenue. They have considered various means of offering the service, such as including Netflix in a premium Internet package available to guests for a fee.

Jonathan Friedland, a spokesman for Los Gatos, California- based Netflix, didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment on the Martin Luther King Jr. U.S. holiday. The company is scheduled to report earnings Tuesday.

More than 50 million people worldwide subscribe to Netflix’s streaming service, which will expand to Australia and New Zealand in March. It 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.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lucas Shaw in Los Angeles at lshaw31@bloomberg.net; Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles at nbrandt@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net Kevin Miller

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