After announcing a plan to offer movie downloads as apps, Warner Bros. has added another bold move in their arsenal: Facebook VOD. That’s not what it’s called, but that’s essentially what this is: creating an app environment on Facebook that allows for movie downloads directly on the social networking site. From the announcement:
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.
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.
Given the immense popularity of social gaming on Facebook, this development was only a matter of time. However, the jury is far from decided as to whether or not consumers will embrace this opportunity. It will likely work with studio blockbusters, but I actually think there’s a potential for documentaries to take advantage of it. Many documentaries build dedicated fans through Facebook, some numbering in the tens of thousands. While offering a link to a DVD or iTunes download is beneficial, maybe direct access on Facebook will augment the efforts in a meaningful way.