Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Big Media Hands Over Its Locks and Keys to Facebook

Facebook’s overhaul we’re about to see is meant, in part, to bring the media world even further into the social network’s play space.

But one of the most important elements of today’s news will take place outside of Facebook’s walls. A crucial part of the new strategy involves letting people sign up for someone else’s site, or service, with a single click, using their Facebook ID.

In other words, lots of big players are going to start sharing their locks and keys with Facebook.

The trade-off is straightforward: You give up (some) control of your own territory, with all the attendant risks that come with that, and in return you get a lot more people showing up at your door.

The media companies that are working with Facebook today are familiar with this dynamic — it’s quite similar to the one they face when they work with Apple and its App Store.

And my guess is they’re now more willing to engage so deeply with Facebook precisely because they’re already deep with Apple. This helps them gain a bit of leverage back.

Hollywood, for instance, doesn’t want Tim Cook to control digital access to their stuff in the way that Steve Jobs locked in the music industry. So it’s likely to let Facebook become an authentication system for various locker/cloud strategies the studios roll out, most notably their Ultraviolet program coming out this year. The cable industry has talked about the same thing.

I don’t think you’re going to see this kind of really deep integration announced today, though. Instead, you’ll see the groundwork for it.

Warner Bros’ Flixster, for instance, will be a launch partner, and that service’s new features allow users to share their collections of movies they watched and would like to watch with their friends. And once you’re signed up for that, it’s easy to imagine registering collections of movies that you actually own with Flixster, too. And once you’ve done that, you could access them from a locker/cloud service, all using your Facebook ID and password.

That’s a (potentially) very big deal. Keep your eyes open.

[Image via Shutterstock/Péter Gudella]

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik