Netflix, Others Turn to Social for Expansion

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If you remember when social integration meant how well you played on the playground or lined up for lunch in second grade, you’re probably an analog native.

For the digital native, it means the growing integration of social networking on sites heretofore not inherently social. At the front of the pack? Netflix. 

Netflix has finally debuted Facebook integration for U.S. subscribers, who can now opt to see what their friends have been watching and like the most, as well as post films or TV shows to their Facebook wall and comment on viewing activity.[more]

Users who opt in will see “Friends’ Favorites” and “Watched by Your Friends” added on their Netflix home page. Depending on the outcome of ongoing research, viewers also may get the ability to post viewing choices with a “share” button inside video streams or even to Twitter.

First announced in July 2011, it has taken quite a while to roll-out to Netflix’s 27 million U.S. subscribers due to the 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act that prevented rental companies from publically releasing member rental history, a law which Netflix successfully lobbied Congress to change. 

Given the indisputable success of Netflix’s launch of original programming with the debut of “House of Cards,” and four more originals due by summer including cult favorite “Arrested Development,” CEO Reed Hastings is betting on social integration to amp up traffic and $7.99-a-month subscriptions.

“Social is going to be everything,” Hastings told AdAge. “Our kids are way more social than us; their kids will be way more social than them. You tell your friends about what you watch and they’ll watch much more of what we offer.”

TechCrunch cautions, “Because the company rushed to launch the feature ahead of a product release, which would allow family members and other shared account holders to set up their own profiles, that means parents will be inadvertently opting their children in to sharing their preferences for ‘Rugrats,’ ‘My Little Pony,’ and ‘Dora the Explorer.'”

Not to be left in the digital dust, Goggle+ is teaming up with Movies by Flixster, which just updated their Android app with full Google+ access. Users can now sign in to Flixster with Google+ instead of just Facebook, add movies or showtimes, invite friends to Movies showings, tag a movie as ‘Want to see’ on the details page and share it.

Sony is following the social gaming integration trail as well, and has made it a key part of their recently launched PS4 gaming platform. The system’s DualShock 4 controller has a “Share” button that allows gamers to broadcast their in-game scores across social media. “For the next generation of gamers, and the next generation of consoles, sharing your experiences with your friends is clearly going to become more commonplace, and easier to do it,” notes MTV. “Sony’s partnerships with Facebook and Ustream are clearly signs that PlayStation are looking to get their games in front of as many people as possible, to showcase just how great they are.” 

Over on network television, as the 17th season of ABC’s “The Bachelor” wrapped on Monday night, fans took to Facebook and Twitter to discuss events real-time via super-imposed tweets. “It goes without saying that Bachelor fans are a force of nature that cannot be ignored,” Tim Bock, VP of production told Mashable. “The audience is vocal, intensely opinionated and generally made up of a demographic that we find to be very tech savvy. The social media universe lights up when “The Bachelor” and its associated shows come on.”

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