Netflix Integrating with Facebook, Splitting Households Into Users

After failing miserably and discontinuing their attempt at “going social” last year, Netflix is giving it another run. This time, they’re getting help from a company that has experience in social media.

Their integration will be with Facebook. You may have heard of them.

Wednesday, Netflix announced what they described as “an extensive Facebook integration” in a shareholders’ letter that accompanied their quarterly earnings report. While integration with Facebook is becoming more and more common, this particular move is striking because they are planning to change much of the way they do business currently.

Today, the unit of measure is based upon households. With their roots in the mailbox movie world, it made sense. Now that they are quickly shifting to online movie delivery as their core product, the Facebook integration will help them push individual Netflix accounts to multiple people in a household.

What does this mean to the consumer? Having personal Facebook-integrated Netflix accounts will keep our preferences separate. If your dad likes old Westerns and your sister likes Disney, they can have their own accounts while you watch episodes of Chuck. This doesn’t sound like a big deal until you realize that personalized recommendations, the ability to easily and automatically share what you’re watching and compare your list with friends, and the whole “privacy within the household” thing are all things that will improve the service for many.

What does this mean to Netflix? More money. Their current $7.99 monthly service is a steal by most accounts. People would pay that or a little less for multiple accounts if it will keep their movie-watching activities separate.

If this works out (and there’s no reason to think that it won’t) the service should be a blockbuster hit.

Netflix’s former director of engineering for APIs, Mike Hart, is now director of engineering for social. He sees social as an international user acquisition strategy and an opportunity to avoid disruption by a competitor that is more social.

Written by Connor Livingston

+Connor Livingston is a tech blogger who will be launching his own site soon, Lythyum. He lives in Oceanside, California, and has never surfed in his life. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
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