The video-on-demand battle, which has previously included big names like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and most recently, mega online retailer Amazon, now extends to Facebook through Warner Bros. The studio, much like every other Hollywood studio since the advent of Netflix’s on demand video-streaming service, has felt the sting of falling box office revenues and dwindling DVD sales.
In a strategic move from Warner Bros., it has launched a test program on its Facebook page that will allow fans to buy or rent—for a limited period of time—select Warner Bros. titles to watch via Facebook. The fee for the service is $3 or the equivalent in Facebook credits. The studio hopes to take advantage of Facebook’s astronomical user-base and attract more fans.
Warner Bros.’ president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, Thomas Gewecke, said, “Facebook has become a daily destination for hundreds of millions of people. 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 film through the world’s largest social network.”
For practiced Facebook users, Warner Bros.’ test program will have the added allure of allowing them to interact with friends while watching the movie, post comments, and in general do what Facebookers do best.