Netflix wants to share movie viewing in the same way and, this week, it finally got its wish (the news was overshadowed by an unrelated part of the bill related to email privacy). So how big a deal is it that Netflix can be on Facebook too?
The answer is that, despite Netflix’s big lobbying push, its victory in Congress may not matter much at all. This is because, in the 15 months since Facebook launched frictionless sharing, companies and users are taking a very different view of its value.
As my colleague Mathew Ingram reported this month, media outlets like the Guardian and the Washington Post are backing away from Facebook as a way to distribute their content. Likewise, Om just pointed to the Poke debacle to call #$%$ on Facebook’s power of influence:
This quick decline in downloads raises some questions about Facebook’s ability to be kingmaker. It may have helped Zynga when social games and Facebook’s platform were brand new phenomena. Remember how their frictionless sharing was going to change everything, especially for media companies? Well, it didn’t change a lick.
Perhaps, things work differently in the movie space. Maybe, the power of Facebook will let Netflix transform the video-watching habits of tens of millions of people. And, just maybe, users will come to love spamming their friends with news that they’re watching the Princess Bride or Debbie does Dallas.
A more likely conclusion is that Netflix’s big effort to change an outdated law, while a good thing, will do little to help the company’s own business.
(Image by ollyy via Shutterstock)