This week, streaming members in the U.S. will be able to opt in to see what movies and TV shows their friends are watching and rating highly.
In a move reminiscent of social entertainment start-ups - TV and movies are better with friends - self-proclaimed Internet TV network Netflix has launched Netflix Social, a feature that enables its streaming users in the U.S. to link their accounts to Facebook to see what their friends are watching and what they really like.
In a release, Netflix says its social features make it "easier and more fun" to find TV shows and movies to watch and discuss with friends.
Netflix did not respond to a request for comment.
Netflix has more than 33 million streaming members worldwide.
In an October 2012 press release, Netflix said more than 25 million of those streaming members were in the U.S.
Netflix has offered social features to its international members for more than a year. Facebook integration is possible in the U.S. after Congress updated a video-sharing law earlier this year, Netflix says.
The integration lets members see what their friends have watched by adding "Friends' Favorites" and "Watched by Your Friends" rows to their home pages. In turn, members' friends will be able to see what they watch and rate highly.
Friends' Favorites will include content rated four or five stars.
Watched by Your Friends will include anything friends have watched, with a few exceptions. Members can choose not to share a specific title by clicking a "Don't Share This" button. They can also unshare a previously shared title by clicking an "Unshare" button. That's according to a blog post announcing the update.
Once they opt in, members will automatically share what they watch only within Netflix. They can also opt in to share what they've watched on Facebook by changing their Social Settings.
Members who agree to share their activity will see the new rows on any device that streams from Netflix, provided these friends are also connected, Netflix says.
Announced Wednesday, Netflix says all U.S. members will have access to the social features by the end of the week.
"People naturally talk about TV shows and movies and love to share their experiences," said Tom Willerer, vice president of product innovation at Netflix, in a prepared statement. "Through the Netflix/Facebook integration we want to let Netflix members express themselves on Facebook and provide a digital version of the proverbial water cooler."
Netflix says its social features will evolve with new features. Upcoming tests include the ability to explicitly share favorite titles on Facebook and discuss them with friends.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014