Reed Hastings took to the stage at f8 Thursday and told a story about how he was finally pushed into watching AMC’s Breaking Bad because he saw that a friend was watching it via Facebook. Apparently, all the people that told him to watch it had no effect, but seeing someone post about it on Facebook, in real time, made him want to watch it.
The story led into his announcement that Netflix is getting deep integration with Facebook’s new Timeline and Open Graph, in order to make everything more social. From the Netflix blog –
The Netflix/Facebook integration empowers you as a Netflix member to share what you watch from Netflix with your friends on Facebook and to discover what your friends are watching both on Facebook and within the Netflix user interface. This makes it easier and more fun to find new television series and movies to watch.
Sounds great, right? The only problem is that this integration will only be launching for Netflix and Facebook users outside the U.S. for now.
The Netflix integration in the States in being held up by a 1988 law called the Video Privacy Protection Act. The law basically makes it so that a person’s video rentals cannot be shared, and it’s blocking the Netflix/Facebook marriage here in America.
Right now, there is legislation already introduced in the House of Representatives to amend this decades-old law. The amendment would allow users to consent to sharing their video information online, therefore allowing the Netflix/Facebook integration to go through.
In light of this, Netflix has posted a plea on their official blog that asks customers to “Help bring Facebook sharing to Netflix USA.”
Unfortunately, we will not be offering this feature in the U.S. because a 1980’s law creates some confusion over our ability to let U.S. members automatically share the television shows and movies they watch with their friends on Facebook…
The good news, however, is that some forward-thinking members of Congress have introduced legislation, H.R. 2471, that would allow you to make this choice…
If you want the choice to share with your friends, please email congress to urge them to pass this modernizing legislation.
So, if you want to see this happen, you can email Congress through this online submission form available via Netflix.
Reed Hasting’s Facebook integration announcement was some good press in a dark couple of weeks for Netflix. Between the price increases, the loss of Starz content, and the whole Qwikster thing, they’ve really taken a hit with users and investors.
Yesterday, they also announced that they made a deal with Discovery Communications to add Discovery Channel and TLC content to their streaming catalog.