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Clicker alliance with Facebook will help users decide what to watch

Clicker, which aims to become the definitive Internet TV guide, is friending the world’s most popular social networking site, Facebook, in a move that could create a potentially powerful and more personal platform for users looking for movies, television shows and videos to watch.

Clicker is one of seven partners — including Yelp, Pandora and Flixster’s Rotten Tomatoes — taking part in Facebook’s instant-personalization program. The program gives select companies access to information about Facebook users that those users have agreed to publicly share so the companies can tailor their websites to the users’ interests and to those of the users’ friends when they visit.

Facebook is slowly expanding the program, which sparked controversy when it launched in April.

“There’s a lot of benefit to being a friend of Facebook,” said Jim Lanzone, co-founder and chief executive of Clicker. “We’re friends with benefits.”

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Now when users arrive at Clicker while logged in to Facebook, they will instantly get suggestions for television shows and movies based on what they and their friends have said they like on Facebook and elsewhere on the Web using Facebook’s “Like” button. For example, if your friends like “Glee,” chances are Clicker will recommend it.

Users will also be able to see comments and reviews from their friends. Users who are not logged in to Facebook will see a “Welcome to Clicker” box in the corner of the screen, giving them the option to log in to Facebook. Lanzone said Facebook users would be able to control how and which information is shared.

With more than 500 million users around the world, Facebook could boost Clicker, a Los Angeles start-up that helps its 2 million users find television shows, movies and videos wherever they are on the Web. The Clicker partnership will also help Facebook deepen its role in the lives of its users. Facebook’s ambition is to be at the center of every social interaction, and it is increasingly doing so by helping users discover new content, whether it be news, music, movies or television.

Television, whether watching it or chatting about it, is an inherently social activity. And research indicates that U.S. households watch about five hours of television a day.

Chris Cox, Facebook’s vice president of product, often mentions TV when he speaks about the potential for Facebook to make the Web more social. He envisions turning on his television to find out what his mom or his friends are watching, and having them make recommendations or record programs for him so that he ends up with hundreds of recommendations rather than hundreds of channels.

The partnership with Clicker is a step in making that vision a reality, said Ethan Beard, director of Facebook Developer Network. Already people flock to Facebook to share their theories on the final episode of ABC’s " Lost,” for example, or to cheer for their team in the World Cup. Now they will be able to take their friends with them to Clicker to more easily discover shows and movies they want to watch, Beard said.

“From our perspective, television is just a very social activity,” he said.

The Facebook partnership is part of Clicker’s broader effort to expand from a website with a search engine to a discovery engine that makes personal recommendations.

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Clicker on Wednesday unveiled a recommendation engine similar to the one used by Netflix. Its home page now features a personalized feed of shows and movies recommended by Clicker Predict. That’s in addition to a compilation of online videos that are trending and a real-time feed of what your friends are watching.

“Our goal is to create the ultimate feed of what you could be watching that you are not already,” Lanzone said.

jessica.guynn@latimes.com


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