Earlier this month, Warner Bros. started testing movie rentals via Facebook, a move that could end up having a far-reaching impact on the movie rental industry as a whole, as well as for Facebook.
The test began with the movie studio offering Facebook users the ability to watch the film, The Dark Knight from the Facebook Page for the title. Now, Warner Bros. has expanded the test to include five additional films: Inception, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Life as We Know It, and Yogi Bear.
"We're pleased to expand our test with a variety of titles that will appeal to a broad audience," said Thomas Gewecke, President of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. "These titles have substantial followings on Facebook. The Fan Pages for 'Harry Potter' and 'Inception' alone are two of the most popular and active communities on the site."
Facebook users can rent a movie by clicking "watch now" from the Faecbook pages of these titles. They will use Facebook Credits to pay. That's why this could be huge for Facebook.
If movie rental via Facebook becomes adopted by more movie studios, and users actually go for it, that's going to be a whole lot of Facebook Credits used, which could translate into consumers getting more accustomed to the payment method in general, as Facebook expands it into other areas, and more third-parties find interesting new ways to harness Facebook.
It would also mean a great deal more time spent on Facebook by users. This will only serve to make Facebook even more attractive to advertisers.
As connected TVs and related devices become more widely adopted, Facebook will become just as good a place as any to quickly watch a movie on demand. Users are already spending much of their online time on Facebook as it is. Finding a page for the movie is generally very easy to do, and then there is the added benefit of being able to discuss movies with friends from the same place.
Some have already written Neflix's epitaph, but Netflix is smart enough to expand its own offerings into exclusive content.