Online video streaming already has a few noteworthy advantages over vanilla television viewing. For one, it allows people who should be – I don’t know – let’s say writing articles about the spread of technology into our daily lives and all the blessings and bothers it brings to catch a film they missed in theaters. That’s just off the top of my head, of course.
A handful of official movie Facebook pages that commonly host hardcore fans now offer a ‘watch’ option that utilizes the site’s unique Credit system to deliver the movie directly onto your monitor or laptop.
Several new films by Warner Bros. debuted on their respective fan pages this week, inching the total number of movies you can watch via Facebook ever upward; it’s at six now. Instead of just the company’s hit “The Dark Knight,” U.S. Facebook addicts (sorry, every other country) have the option to rent and watch an additional five films: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” “Life as We Know It,” “Yogi Bear” and “Inception.” It’s unclear exactly how studio heads came up with the idea to add movie watching to Facebook, though rumors state it came to them in a dream.
Unfortunately, just ‘liking’ the page won’t magically grant you access (though it is required). The films employ the standard “Facebook credit” system for transactions. So far, rentals cost between 30 and 40 credits each — or $3-$4.
Facebook is more and more seeming like the next great avenue for content providers. Warner Bros. may be the first studio to invest in this concept, but other ventures are relying on Facebook’s near-universal reach to turn a dime. Earlier this month a new movie streaming service called Fandor launched, attempting to merge the social networking scene with independent films through an inspired use of the site’s ubiquitous ‘share’ system and Netflix-like convenience.