March 08, 2011, 5:45 PM — So I watched The Dark Knight again today. That makes viewing #4, I think. The only difference between this viewing and the first three is that this time I did it on Facebook.
It seems there is no pie Facebook does not want to stick its finger in, and the latest baked confection the social network is eyeing appears to be Hollywood. Warner Bros and Facebook launched a little experiment this week: Visit the Batman: The Dark Knight fan page on Facebook and you can have the movie streamed directly to you for 30 Facebook credits ($3). That gives you the right to watch it on your computer for up to 48 hours.
My reaction? The late Heath Ledger – fantastic. Christian Bale, not so much. Movies on Facebook? Meh.
[ See also: Facebook: A cop's best friend ]
ITworld blogger Chris Nerney has written about the business implications of Facebook getting into movie streaming (ie, cement overshoes for Netflix). I’m not convinced FB will eat Netflix’s lunch, necessarily – or Amazon’s, Hulu’s, Red Box’s, or anyone else in the flicks-for-couch-potatoes biz.
As far as I can see, the only advantage to renting a movie on Facebook is so you can brag to your friends about it via the ubiquitous Like and Share buttons. Meanwhile, there are several disadvantages. It’s far less seamless than signing up for Netflix or Amazon video, at least at this early stage. You have to log into Facebook, find the fan page, click through a few screens, install a Facebook app, and buy credits.
It’s not difficult or time consuming, but I’m at a computer with a keyboard and a mouse. It would be a different story if I had to do that with a TV remote – and the living room is where I want to watch most of my movies.
Compare that to NetFlix or Amazon, both of which I can get to from a variety of devices already attached to my HDTV – Roku, TiVo, Xbox, etc. – with one or two clicks. That’s an easy choice.
Other problems: Image quality wasn’t particularly great, and when I paused my movie and returned to it later it started over from the beginning. Oops.
But for now, let’s assume Facebook gets into the streaming movie biz and makes a go of it. Let’s also assume they work out the kinks, provide one -click access to Facebook movies via the set top box of your choice, and offer a broad array of films catering to a variety of tastes (yes, including the naughty ones).