Facebook Punches Up Movie, TV Show Listings

Social media giant pacts with Rovi for entertainment data

Social kingpin Facebook, aiming to lubricate the way people connect to their fave entertainment content, is adding detailed info on TV shows, movies and celebs to its website and apps through a pact with metadata provider Rovi.

Terms of multiyear pact were not disclosed. Facebook has licensed Rovi Video data set, which includes info on 4.5 million TV episodes and sporting events and 150,000 movie titles. In addition to metadata such as plot synopsis, cast and poster art, Facebook has access to TV listings data broken down by provider.

Companies said integrating Rovi Video with the Facebook platform also will give developers a standardized base of data for apps that let people discover and share entertainment-related content.

“We see the social interaction with movies, TV shows and video entertainment growing immensely over the next couple of years,” Ime Archibong, Facebook’s manager of platform partnerships, said in a statement. “With this in mind, we’ve sought Rovi as a valuable source for TV and movie information to help provide the backdrop that we need to enable developers to create a connected experience for consumers in their apps and services.”

For entertainment info, Facebook previously used sources such as Wikipedia and Freebase. “They found inconsistency and quality gaps. They reached a point where they wanted something more consistent,” said Rovi biz development director Kevin Wyatt, who led negotiations with Facebook.

Other Internet portals that have licensed Rovi’s video data include AOL, Microsoft and Time Warner’s Flixster.

Facebook is expected to weave Rovi’s TV and movie data into Graph Search, a feature that lets users comb through pals’ interests with queries such as “movies my friends like.”

Rovi will map its unique identifiers for TV and movie titles to a set of Facebook page IDs. That, according to Wyatt, will make it easier for Rovi’s customers to include links to the corresponding movie and TV show Facebook pages in their products.

Pact covers data for the U.S., U.K. and Canada. Wyatt noted that Rovi provides data for 52 countries, so Facebook could extend down the line.  Rovi data descriptors include attributes like moods, artistic styles, plot themes, tone and time periods.

Rovi, formerly Macrovision Solutions, acquired Gemstar-TV Guide Intl. in 2008.

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