Warner Bros. teams with Facebook for VOD movie play

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Social media Goliath Facebook has jumped into the digital-movie delivery game, partnering with Warner Bros. on a trial that will allow users to rent content from the studio through the Facebook site using Facebook credits. First up: The Dark Knight, which will cost users $3 (or 30 credits) for a 48-hour rental. (Click here for details.)

The studio in a press release said it will test the waters with the Batman flick before deciding whether to expand into more VOD and electronic sell-through.

But, as Peter Kafka in an All Things Digital article says, the test is perfunctory.

"Facebook has 600 million registered users, and courtesy of Zynga and other social games, a big chunk of them are already using the site's virtual currency," said Kafka. "[It's] easy to connect the dots here."

The deal is only available to consumers in the United States at the moment, Warner Bros. says, adding that it plans to add more titles for rental and purchase soon.

The movie will be available in full-screen mode and have all the associated pause-and-play options you'd expect. What it also has is the ability for users to access full Facebook functionality while they're watching the movie, which is seen as a significant built in edge for Facebook, which already is one of the largest video sites in the world, just behind YouTube.

"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."

This isn't Facebook's first foray into the VOD world. In addition to clips and trailers that populate the site, Facebook also hosted the PBS documentary Earth Days last year, where it was available to users before it aired on TV.

Amazon and Redbox also recently announced streaming initiatives to challenge Netflix, which with 20 million subscribers is, at the moment, in the catbird seat for the segment.

For more:
- see this release
- see this article

Related articles:
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Facebook moves to No. 2 spot in online video rankings
PBS documentary 'Earth Days' to run on Facebook before it airs on TV
Redbox, Amazon want part of the streaming video market
Redbox takes backseat as Amazon sets up for toe-to-toe fight with Netflix