Warner Bros. to Offer Movies via Facebook

     March 8, 2011

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Warner Bros. plans to begin streaming its movies through Facebook.  Facebook users will be able to rent and stream movies by spending Facebook credits and the studio plans to expand the program in the future to include purchasing as well as renting.  The first film available to watch via this new streaming service is The Dark Knight, which will cost you 30 credits (i.e. $3, but of course Facebook has its own currency).  More titles will become available for rental and purchase in the coming months.

While it’s impressive that WB has found yet another revenue stream (they recently released “App Editions” of The Dark Knight and Inception and they’re launching a premium video-on-demand service in the coming months), the real story is Facebook.  We’re looking at the birth of yet another online competitor in the digital distribution world.  Consider how many platforms Facebook has for users to browse their site.  Now consider those platforms also allow you to rent and purchase movies through Facebook and you can see why this is a big deal.  While the service is currently only available via browser, I would expect it to eventually expand to mobile phones, Xbox 360, etc.  Hit the jump to check out the press release.

the-dark-knight-t-facebook-01Here’s the press release:

WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT BECOMES FIRST HOLLYWOOD STUDIO TO OFFER MOVIES DIRECTLY ON FACEBOOK®

MILLIONS OF WARNER BROS. FACEBOOK FANS CAN NOW RENT MOVIES USING FACEBOOK CREDITS AND STREAM WITHIN STUDIO’S MOVIE FAN PAGES

PROGRAM WILL EXPAND TO DIGITAL MOVIE PURCHASES IN THE NEAR FUTURE

BURBANK, CALIF., March 8, 2011 – Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD), a market leader in video-on-demand and electronic sell-through, today announced it will begin testing an offering of selected movies for purchase or rental through Warner Bros. Entertainment’s Facebook movie Pages.  Consumers will be able to use Facebook Credits to easily buy or rent a title, all while staying connected to Facebook.

Starting today, millions of fans who “Liked” Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster film “The Dark Knight” can rent the title through its official Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/darkknight).  Consumers simply click on the “rent” icon to apply their Facebook Credits, and within seconds they will begin enjoying the film.  The cost per rental is 30 Facebook Credits or $3.  This offering is presently available only to consumers in the United States.  Additional titles will be made available for rental and purchase on a regular basis over the coming months.

“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.”

Fans will have full control over the film while watching it through their Facebook account for up to 48 hours from purchase.  They can choose to watch it in full screen, pause the movie, and resume playing it when they log back into Facebook.  Consumers will also have full Facebook functionality including the ability to post comments on the movie, interact with friends and update their status.

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