“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 movie will be available for rental for 30 Facebook credits, which equates to $3. Facebook fans will have 48 hours to view the movie. In true Facebook fashion, viewers will be able to “…post comments on the movie, interact with friends and update their status.” In other words, Facebook’s version of VOD will add a social networking hook that competitors will find difficult to replicate.
Warner Brothers is the only announced partner so far. They say more films are on the way and the ability to purchase films is coming too.
For Facebook, it’s yet another way for them to monetize their 600 million members, and become a competitive threat to the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, and maybe, the cable/telcoTV/DBS companies.
For studios like Warner Brothers, Facebook looks to be an enticing distribution channel for their films and TV shows. Individual movies and TV shows already have a Facebook presence with ‘friends’ and ‘likers.’ Giving that captive audience access to actually watch those films only makes sense. Oh, did I mention that Facebook has 600 million+ users.
For now, Facebook access is dominated through PC/laptops and mobile devices. But increasingly, Facebook apps are making their way to the TV, providing a path for Facebook VOD to the TV.
It’s only an experiment for now, but one can only imagine the possibilities. Facebook has a very unique value proposition with regard to video, in that it has direct relationships with individual consumers. Traditional video service providers, and to a lesser extent, OTT upstarts, have relationships with households (for example, it’s unlikely that Netflix has multiple subscriptions within one household, but Facebook certainly does).
That difference is very appealing to the content ecosystem because it allows more direct relationships with individual paying customers as opposed to a single household. It’s a differentiator that means this Facebook VOD experiment is definitely one to watch.