Netflix Wants All of Your Friends to Know Everything You’re Watching
It’s not about social networking, like everyone thinks. Spotify doesn’t share what you’re listening to because sharing information is inherently good. No, it’s because the user becomes a commercial for the kind of content provided by the service. A friend of the user might see the update and say, “Oh, I didn’t know Spotify had [insert band/artist here]! I think I’ll have to check that out.” Netflix wants to get into that same racket and would greatly benefit from it. The primary statement throughout the whole ordeal with pricing and service splitting was, “There’s nothing worth watching in their streaming catalog!” The best way to prove otherwise is to let users know what other users are finding. It’s a great business strategy in this social media world.
It’s great that services that sell themselves as means for sharing content (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are really nothing more than vehicles for advertising. The trick is that consumers do all the work. Consumers provide the money and footwork for branding. It’s really clever. I try not to actively involve myself in that. My Facebook account does not automatically notify my friends of anything, not even when I post blog updates. I’m not even sure if Google+ has that yet, and I really hope they avoid walking down that path. (Their branding is focused on curation – meaning they suggest their user base take a “less is more” strategy with their social content.) The closest I get is a last.fm account, which is more to my benefit as I’ve discovered new artists based on the suggestions my growing library generates. But unless I specifically link it, no one knows where to look for this particular content.
In short, I completely advocate Netflix’s attempt to use the current social media to advertise its service because I love the service myself, but I will not be participating for the same reasons I do not participate in passively advertising those other services. They need to earn their own paychecks. Or maybe just give me credit every time I convince someone to subscribe to their service.