Facebook Rents Movies

It’s true. Facebook and Warner Brothers have teamed up to get in the streaming movie game. Move over Netflix. Get out of the way Amazon. The world’s largest online audience now has the ability to socialize over a movie.

It’s truly a brilliant move on both of their parts. With the movie industry looking to tighten control and increase profits, it only remains a logical next step for them to take over their own distribution channel. Instead of relying on the conventional norms, movie execs have finally realized the value and context in which movies are consumed — in a social setting. What better platform to launch on, then, than Facebook?

Starting with one of Warner Bros. most successful movies to date was a no brainer. Sure it would attract the mainstream marketing buzz, and it’s not a third tier film which signals to Warner Bros fans that this is something that the company itself finds worth backing. And by cutting out the middle-man, it looks like the Facebook-Warner Bros. team has found a way to lower prices.

Using Facebook Credits, users must load real world funds from their credit cards into Facebook who will then transfer each dollar into 10 credits (at least that is the “exchange rate” now). So for example, Batman is 30 credits worth, which translates into $3 dollars. See what I did there? 30/10 = $3. And you have 48 hours to view or re-view the movie. Not bad if you ask me. But the real question is, what kind of staying power will this delivery platform have? The pay-per-movie streaming rental game seems to be well dominated by cable providers, and the unlimited streaming movie subscription services offered by Netflix and Amazon seem to have a very broad menu selection with unlimited views for a low monthly (or yearly) price.

Where Warner Bros. has their strength is in two key areas:

1) They control the social experience – By adding a social layer onto movie watching, they are leapfrogging the competition. With popular apps such as GetGlue and Miso alreadyBuyFacebookCreditsshowing heavy adoption rates, it is clear that there is much business to be had in the social-TV, social-Movie sphere.
2) They control the distribution channel – Sure, they are partnered with Facebook who receives a cut of the money, but they are using direct to consumer channels now. After signing 28-day delays with major film-distributer Netflix (whose stock saw a 4.8 percent dive on the news) and RedBox, they have launched their own streaming service to rival the two industry heavyweights. There is no word yet as to whether newer films will be released on facebook streaming before they hit other channels, but if I had to guess, I’d say that it’s more than likely.

So who is going to cut their Netflix or amazon subscriptions in favor of Facebook movies? They’re cheap, they’re easy, they’re social, and they’ll probably be released on Facebook before anywhere else. Is this enough for you to switch, or are you sticking to your guns?

Written by

David is an avid social entrepreneur and Boston sports fanatic. He founded Diversified Data Technologies way back in 2009 and stuck around to see it grow. His party quarks include unnecessary dancing and being an overly hospitable host. When looking, he can be found capturing the twitterverse at @DLanphear, being professional on LinkedIn, or bouncing around town with Foursquare.

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