Netflix announced new social features yesterday:
Starting today, Netflix members in the U.S. can share their favorite shows and movies on Netflix with friends by connecting to Facebook and agreeing to share.
By default, sharing will only happen on Netflix. You’ll see what titles your friends have watched in a new “Watched by your friends” row and what they have rated four or five stars in a new “Friends’ Favorites” row. Your friends will also be able to see what you watch and rate highly.
More information: http://blog.netflix.com/2013/03/introducing-netflix-social.html
The move was not surprising – film watching has traditionally been a social experience, and it appears as though Netflix subscribers are already very actively using social media. Netflix has also become a huge part of popular culture, synonymous with movie watching online:
Right after the Netflix-Facebook social integration announcement, the majority of social mentions of Netflix were about the announcement itself – clearly a hot topic with people, eclipsing all other normally popular subjects (i.e. specific shows or lack thereof):
Whether this kind automatic sharing will become popular with subscribers or not, remains to be seen. In any event, getting into social media is a smart move by Netflix: it’s a fixed monthly fee, “all you can eat” service. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult for long-time subscribers to find interesting movies to watch. Adding more social features will enable Netflix to become more of a data company (as opposed to simply a video streaming library), and that can both help existing customers remain engaged, and potentially generate additional sources of revenue.
P.S. someone was praising Netflix’s recommendation engine on Hacker News earlier today, so I had to show them this:
They are not yet a data company. But they are becoming one.