Reed Hastings: We Are Bringing Netflix To Facebook, Except In The U.S.

By Erick Schonfeld Features Tech Crunch

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Netflix is coming to Facebook in a really social way. At Facebook’s F8 developer conference today, Mark Zuckerberg previewed how Facebook members will be able to see what movies or TV shows their friends have been watching on Netflix and click on the movie to watch it right there in Facebook. An overlay player pops up, and you can watch the movie without even leaving Facebook.

Netflix CEO and Facebook board member Reed Hastings spoke as well, and compared the experiencing of discovering new TV shows and movies on Facebook to Netflix’s own recommendation algorithm. “My friend did trumps the algorithm ,” says Hastings. If you’ve ever clicked on a YouTube video because you saw it in your Facebook News feed, you can imagine how you might click on a Netflix video as well (if you have the time to watch a longer video). But if you live in the U.S., you will have to imagine it because a privacy law in the U.S related video viewing data prevents Netflix from turning the app on in the U.S. It will, however, be available immediately in 44 other countries. Hastings noted that the law, the Video Privacy Protection Act passed in 1988, is in the process of being reviewed and might be overturned in the U.S..

Viewing data raises all sorts of privacy concerns. But if Facebook manages the privacy issues correctly, and lets you share only the viewing habits you want to share, this kind of social TV could create an entirely new way to find shows and movies to watch. Already it is becoming common for people to broadcast what they are watching through various apps. Now on Facebook when you see those status updates you should be able to watch as well. If only the laws in the U.S. permitted it.

The potential is certainly there. Hastings shared an anecdote in which he asked Zuckerberg to define success for social TV. Zuckerberg shot back, “How big are you going to grow next year?” Hastings told him a number. Success, Zuckerberg told him, is if Netflix grows twice as much as it is expecting (presumably in terms of videos streamed). If Netflix can launch its video sharing app on Facebook in the U.S., it might just get there.

Company: Netflix
Launch Date: September 22, 1997

With more than 23.3 million members in the United States and Canada, Netflix, Inc. is the world’s leading Internet subscription service for enjoying movies and TV shows. For $7.99 a month, Netflix members in the U.S. can instantly watch unlimited movies and TV episodes streaming right to their TVs and computers and can receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to their homes. In Canada, streaming unlimited movies and TV shows from Netflix is available for $7.99 a month. There are...

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Company: Facebook
Launch Date: January 2, 2004
Funding: $2.34B

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 500 million users.Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskowitz and Chris Hughes to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks. The original idea for the term...

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