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Report: Netflix, Facebook in Talks to Up ‘Socialization’

30 May, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Discussions would indicate Facebook is not seeking to launch a streaming service

Netflix and Facebook reportedly are in discussions to cross-promote the “social” aspect of each other’s business platforms.

The New York Times, in covering Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s presentation at the eG8 technology conference last week in France, reported the social media executive is seeking to link new and existing media companies’ platforms — including Netflix — to its 700 million global user base.

Netflix, with 23 million paying subscribers, has long generated much of its disc subs through a state-of-art user interface and related recommendation technology, among other advances. Indeed, Netflix a couple of years ago awarded a $1 million prize to a group of computer scientists who successfully increased by more than 10% the accuracy of predictions about how much someone is going to enjoy a movie based on their movie preferences.

In March, a reporter with Investor.com reported he was part of test group examining Facebook integration with Netflix users' movie and TV programming viewing and rental patterns, among other social habits.

In France, Facebook envisioned a “continuous feed” among its users who listen to music services, read online news or watch movies, among other media. Through a simple link (or click), other Facebook “friends” could access the identical content, according to the Times.

“Listening to music is something that people do with their friends,” Zuckerberg said. “Music, TV, news, books — those types of things I think people just naturally do with their friends. I hope we can play a part in enabling those new companies to get built, and companies that are out there producing this great content to become more social.”

How far the talks between Facebook and Netflix go is anybody's guess. Facebook and Apple last year ended discussions for a social link to iTunes after Apple launched its own Ping social platform that went nowhere.

A Netflix representative was not immediately available for comment.

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