Netflix Inc is the latest media company to integrate with social networking website Facebook, whose huge community of young, tech-savvy users could help drive growth of the online DVD rental service's subscriber base.
Starting on Tuesday, Netflix users can use Facebook Connect -- software that links individual Facebook pages to third-party Web sites -- to share their ratings of Netflix rentals with their Facebook friends, the companies said in a statement.
Intuitively, the folks streaming (Netflix movies) on the laptop tend to be the under-25 crowd, Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey said. You could make the leap that it is the more tech-savvy ... the early adopter crowd ... but Facebook is becoming more mainstream.
Movie ratings will appear on Netflix subscribers' Facebook pages if they opt into the program, and will link back to the correlating movie page at Netflix.com, the companies said.
The tie-up puts Netflix's brand and its fast-growing online streaming service -- a major growth driver for its subscriber base -- in front of more than 175 million active Facebook users through what is essentially a marketing channel.
Facebook Connect, launched last year, was expected to transform the social network from a private site where activity occurs entirely within a wall garden to a Web-wide phenomenon where software makers, with user permission, can tap member data for use on their sites.
Among others, early partners included CBS, Disney-ABC, Discovery.com and Hulu, jointly owned by News Corp and NBC Universal.
(Reporting by Gina Keating; Editing by Gary Hill)