At the 2011 Media Summit in New York yesterday, John Calkins, executive VP of global digital and commercial innovation at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, said social media distribution could prove to be interesting. More specifically, he suggested that Sony could do something similar to this week's streaming movies announcement by Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and Facebook.
"Our view is that Facebook certainly is a very viable pool, large pool for access for people that are interested in media content," Calkins said according to The Hollywood Reporter. "I think it's a great first step to begin what eventually turns into more social distribution of titles to people that maybe weren't already fans. So, it's both marketing and distribution. Why are we running theatrical trailers without 'buy' buttons? I think at some point that starts to happen."
Calkins agreed with other panelists who argued that major social network-based film offers will not become a big focus for studios overnight and that most of their benefits will likely come following the DVD release of a movie. "What we are really most excited about Facebook for is that resurfacing of a title, maybe recent or old, when our marketing budget has subsided, but now we can turn it over to consumers and in effect use their marketing budget," Calkins said. "A few weeks into DVD, we really don't talk about the title anymore. ... If you can have fans do that through something like Facebook, it's incredibly powerful. So, we like the idea. I think it's just very early days."
Will Sony be the next movie studio to start showing movies on Facebook? Unless other companies have been working on such a project with the social network at the same time, it sure seems so.
Movie studios certainly see Facebook as an alternative to DVD sales, but while they are definitely interested in moving forward with such a plan, they are being very cautious, so don't hold your breath. Remember, Warner Bros. started off its test of such a system with just a single movie.