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Warner Begins Rentals Via Facebook

Demonstrating yet again that it firmly believes consumers will pay double or triple Redbox prices to rent movies online, Warner has begun renting films via Facebook.

First up is one of the Warner catalog’s heavy hitters: The Dark Knight. The film can be rented on its own Facebook page for 30 Facebook credits or $3. Other films should follow in the near future. The movie expires after 48 hours, and can be resumed after pausing by logging back in to Facebook.

Thomas Gewecke, President of Warner Bros.
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Digital Distribution, said the following in a press release on the new offering:

“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 films through the world’s largest social network.”

What do you think, Insiders? Are enough people going to “like” this new rental option that it will become a viable revenue stream for Warner?
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(via Engadget)

34 Responses to “Warner Begins Rentals Via Facebook”

  1. Member [Join Now]
    Alan Smithee [8traxrule]

    How do you play it? I wouldn’t pay anything to watch a movie on a computer.

  2. Member [Join Now]

    It’s the return of the studio system from the early days. If this took off, which it won’t, then the studios would distribute the films themselves directly to the consumer locking re-sellers out.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      firstlawofnature [visitor]

      How is renting via facebook with a rev share different from the deals the studios do with amazon, comcast or apple? I see this as simply another place to view generic VOD at $4 or $5. Nothing new at all.

      • Member [Join Now]

        The difference that you are missing is that the studio is renting directly. Between this and the iPad ap they are trying to eliminate Redbox, Amazon, et all. It would be rent directly from WB for their set price or not see the movie at all. It’s the old studio system redesigned for the new century.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Firstlawofnature [visitor]

        Directly would be streaming from their own website or wholly owned service. Facebook probably keeping 20 to 30% of the $3 so that is no different than VOD from comcast or amazon. Studios tried direct already. It was called movielink and it had zero traction. This is just another generic VOD service with the hottest internet property in the world. It’s just one old movie. Sure more may come but doesn’t have a leg up on cable or other internet VOD players.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      JR [visitor]

      This is probably the most efficient way to distribute movies yet.

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    tinybrat [visitor]

    Warner would make more money by having a more friendly attitude towards Redbox & Netflix. Here they have their two biggest customers in the world, and they refuse to sell them product on the day of release. They instead opt to wait 28 days, by which time, their two largest customers now decide to buy only half of the product they would normally have bought. If Warner would sell content on the day of release, they’d make a lot more money off of dvd sales then they would off of facebook.

    Its just an odd culture, where you as a CEO decide to screw the companies that are making you the most money. Think about it. The Dark Knight, Redbox has about 25,000 kiosks, lets say they bought 20 copies to go into each kiosk, thats 500,000 copies at whatever a wholesale cost would be, maybe $10? So $5 million from one title. But instead, they wait 28 days, now Redbox thinks maybe it won’t do so well because other places have had it for awhile, so they only put 5 copies in each machine, so 1.25 million to Warner. Warner loses 3.75 million dollars by waiting 28 days. Do they really think they are making that money up somewhere else? I find it hard to believe they sell an additional 3.75 million dollars worth of dvds to consumers in that time.

    They make statements that the delay window has increased their dvd sales by 15%, but they don’t give any details with that. How many dvds is that? Is that more or less than they would have sold to Redbox alone? What about Netflix? In reality, their sales not counting those two customers may have risen 15%, but if you include Redbox & Netflix, their sales actually probably dropped.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Tee [visitor]

      Maybe you should ask the owner of the company you work for to sell their service or product for over 50% off to increase their sales, see what they say. Why does it not sink in here that Redbox & Netflix will not pay the $17 to $20 that all others have to pay that want it on street date including video stores & the public. If they were willing to pay what everyone else pays they could have them on street date. It’s that simple, if they want them for $7 – $10 they have to wait period, end of story.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Jim [visitor]

        My company does give discounts if a customer buys more quantity than the average customer. And if they do buy huge quanties, they do get it close to 50% off

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Anton [visitor]

        Oh well. Here it is in plain sight just like I posted on yesterday’s story. This is why he is happy with his Facebook streaming deal. It’s $3 to rent catalog titles. I cannot see Netflix or Amazon keeping low cost streaming past this year. You must pay for the “convenience” of in home delivery.

        To counter you Darknight point. It only takes 250,00 copies bought up by small stores, at $20 to make the $5million. Of course this is assuming that RB and Netlfix even pay $10 per dvd, I’ve heard they aim for $7. I’m sure even Wal-Mart buys more of the embargoed titles now too, even if it’s just 10 more per store that will add up. Of all things, even Wal-Mart pays $20 per DVD, that’s why they are called loss leaders when they sell them for the same price that they bought them for.

        It doesn’t take a rocket science to figure out that making less copies and getting the same amount of money is better. Even their dvd manufactering company bill would have been cut down. Plus it also means there will be less used DVD’s out in the market later and we all know how studios love that.

      • Member [Join Now]

        Tee, Why don’t you ask McDonalds to charge 10 dollars for a Bic Mac so people will appreciate it more. The market pays what the consumer will allow. People like to throw out numbers of what the studios may want but rarely address the more fundamental issue of why the market is like it is now.

        Beyond that even if Redbox and Netflix paid full retail, not the average sale price but full retail or 29 per DVD and 39 per BR the studios would still be upset over the renter making money on it after paying only once. That’s why the cooperated with BB and it’s revenue sharing and coincidentally enough why BB charged so much per rental and failed to survive.

        • Visitor [Join Now]
          Tee [visitor]

          mkiker, what in hell are you talking about, $10 for a $3 hamburger. That might be relative if we were talking about $70 dvd’s and $99 br’s but we’re not. Do you speak for the studio’s knowing what upsets them and what does not? They have not bothered any video stores that are willing to pay what they feel their movies are worth in over 20 years. These companies i.e. redbox & netflix want to provide movies and charge a price that is a no brainier to market but does not make sense unless they can dictate what price they want to buy at. Well guess what, they do not get to dictate what price the studio’s charge for their product. They (studio’s) cooperated with BB because they could generate more revenue by revshareing and BB in the process could decimate any competition with copy depth. The reason they failed is because the revshare dynamic stopped working when dvd’s hit the market at $20 instead of $70, and because they failed to adapt to emerging pricing of rentals. they were slayed by the same sword (revsharing) that they used to slay their competition.

          • Member [Join Now]

            You don’t understand the situation. First back to the Facbook issue. It is renting directly from WB. Facebook is just an advertiser. Just like you buy your groceries at Wal-Mart even if an ad in the paper led you there. Who say 20 is fair for a DVD. Actually 29.99 is the full MSRP if you want video stores to pay full price of most new movies. The market won’t bear it. Your assumption was that people were paying to little but it ignores that people paid what they felt was fair and the studios ACCEPTED it.

            Secondly paying 10 dollars for a 3 dollar burger is absurd. The market sets the price.

            Thirdly they don’t bother rental chains anymore because their repeated attempts to modify first sale doctrine have failed. If they had a chance now they would.

            Lastly the studios accepted that revenue because no matter what they say people will just not buy movies they don’t love so they can see them once. They most certainly will NEVER pay full price.

            You actually seem to argue my own point for me when you point out that BB was part of the overpriced system and they prove that it doesn’t work. Actually however the homework goes deeper. BB was built on VHS. VHS had high retail prices because a- fewer people owned them at first and b- to reap revenue from libraries and video stores. The original “windows” were price based and not time delayed. The consumers were unwilling to pay 99 dollars for a VHS and weren’t even compelled strong enough to rent them. Even with VHS the market set the price. If the studios can’t make it profitable then they will fail. It’s really that simple and they have no one to blame but themselves.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      numb3rs [visitor]

      you should post this on thier facebook,

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      John Small [visitor]

      Your numbers are completely wrong tinybrat and you show an utter lack of understanding of the industry.

      Warner DVD sales numbers, for the first 28 days, actually increased after Netflix & Redbox were put on a delay.

  4. Member [Join Now]

    This is a good investment for them, but it does sound dumb. Think about all of the teens who will steal their parents’ credit cards to rent movies on Facebook.

    Disclamer: The Social Network will never be available on Facebook due to it making Zucherburg look like a jerk.

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    tuna [visitor]

    Sony is looking at the possible distribution of films via social networks or other methods similar to a Facebook-Warner deal announced this week

  6. Member [Join Now]
    Tim The Toolman [timscarlet]

    I see netflix and redbox have lightscribed dvd faces on their dvd’s. are they buying fewer dvd’s and then copying the rest and lightscribing the blank discs and renting them out? I think they are, as the files on the discs are video ts files. a copied dvd file keeping the protection still on it. What do you guys think?

  7. Member [Join Now]

    I have three computers and two HDMI hi def plasma 42′ tvs. I can watch movies on any of them. Now why do I want to pay $3.00 to watch a movies on a 19″ monitor when i can pay the same money and watch it on my plasma? Not going to fly, splat!

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    Rancher [visitor]


  9. Visitor [Join Now]
    bobwrong [visitor]

    As far as why would a person rent a movie on their computer?…well if you are like me or the hundreds of thousands of other tech people in the world…you have a computer hooked up to your tv in some way – so streaming video from it to your (usually) much larger HDTV is as easy as switching inputs….

    The price…well that is a different story….$3 is too much….$2 and I have to say I’m game….$1 and I’d have to say goodbye redbox…

    Now to watch all the little pirates out there jump on board with ripping off the video from the streams.

    my 3 cents.

  10. Member [Join Now]

    Warner Brothers seems seriously out of touch. WTH? The Dark Knight has been out for what, 2 years now? Why would anyone pay $3 to rent it? If you were really interested, you saw it when it came out in theaters back in 2008. And then even if you were only mildly interested, you saw it when it came out on DVD whenever that was. I like it quite a bit, but I wouldn’t pay more than a dollar to see it. And because I’m a cheap bastard, I’d get it from the local library instead… if my roommate hadn’t already bought it (it currently sits on our collective DVD shelf gathering dust).

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Anton [visitor]

      Well, this is what all those idiots wanted when they were touting:
      “I love streaming! It’s the future!”

      I told them it wasn’t going to be cheap. Now that most brick and mortar stores are closed streaming might be the only way to get that 2 year old movie you missed. Only problem is that now it will cost $3, maybe more for new releases. This is why I will not jump on board with streaming, it’s physical media for me. Try getting Darknight at the RB. This is why I don’t support RB or Netflix(god-sent streaming according to some) and instead support local stores.
      I’m thinking the studios might window Netflix like they do the tv channels. Maybe content will only be available for a couple years on Netflix, then only by thier new pricey Facebook rentals. It could happen.

  11. Member [Join Now]
    jakoblin [jakoblin]

    where is the link to rent on face book ?