You may find yourself doing a lot more than just "liking" a movie on Facebook in the near future. There's a chance that Facebook could become your go-to movie rental destination. Here's who should be worried about this: Netflix, Blockbuster, Redbox, Hulu, Apple, Amazon, YouTube, and every other provider of movies online.
Warner Bros. has become the first Hollywood studio to offer movies directly on Facebook. The studio announced that it will begin testing an offering of selected movies for purchase or rental through its Facebook Page. Users will be able to use Facebook Credits to purchase or rent films while they're on Facebook.
"Facebook has become a daily destination for hundreds of millions of people," said Thomas Gewecke, President of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. "Making our films available through Facebook is a natural extension of our digital distribution efforts. It gives consumers a simple, convenient way to access and enjoy our films through the world’s largest social network."
The studio has kicked it all off by offering The Dark Knight on the Facebook Page for the movie.
Like to talk during the movies? There are already entire businesses based on the concept of talking about the video content you're watching with your friends on social media. If you're watching a movie on Facebook, this should be easier than ever.
Of course, besides being incredibly disruptive for the online video and movie industries, this has the potential to be massive for Facebook for a variety of reasons. For one, Facebook credits - getting them more mainstream. Two: much more time spent on Facebook by users - an area where Facebook is hardly lacking as it is. This will only be more attractive to advertisers.
As connected TVs and related devices find their way into more homes, this is likely to become more of an attractive concept for users. However, it will be interesting to see how the studios adapt to it.
Imagine a world where studios have Facebook Pages set up for all of their movies, where they can easily be rented and viewed instantly right from Facebook. It remains to be seen whether WB will follow through on this concept, as this is just a test. It also remains to be seen whether other studios will follow suit. If so, the competition in the movie-rental industry is going to have to find some interesting ways to differentiate themselves.
Right now, WB has the cost per rental at 30 Facebook Credits or $3. It's currently only available in the U.S. Additional titles will be available over the coming months.