I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

Summary: I would seem to be a prime candidate to serve as a guinea pig for Facebook and Warner Bros.'s experiment to rent a streaming version of The Dark Knight on the social network.

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I would seem to be a prime candidate to serve as a guinea pig for Facebook and Warner Bros.'s experiment to rent a streaming version of The Dark Knight on the social network. Unlike almost everyone else in the world, I've never seen this Batman flick, and I'm a (somewhat) active Facebook user. But I have no interest in paying $3 -- or, rather, 30 Facebook credits -- to watch the movie, which should provide Netflix some hope after its stock took a battering yesterday following the Facebook announcement.

Investors got the quakes because Facebook has already upended digital industries like online gaming, and it appears that movie studios are doing whatever they can to make sure Netflix doesn't become any more of a Goliath than it already is. And it's true that under the right circumstances, Facebook could become a major destination for video streaming from TV and film sources in a way that MySpace never was able to.

But the initial foray shows some of the potential limitations to this approach. While Warner Bros. says it selected The Dark Knight because 3.9 million Facebook users have "liked" it, that points to part of the problem: Most people who've wanted to see it, have seen it. They might have been among the millions to see it in theaters, or maybe they saw it as an on-demand offering from their pay TV provider, or purchased it on DVD, or watched it on HBO, or rented it from iTunes or, yes, Netflix. Will the fanboys really pay an additional $3 just so they can be part of a Facebook experiment?

While you can't watch The Dark Knight through Netflix's streaming service, what Warner Bros won't say is that it picked a title that's nearly three years removed from theaters because the studio's really not interested in upsetting the usual roll-out process for newer titles. If it really wanted to make a splash, why didn't it chose a film that just arrived on DVD, or that hasn't even reached DVD yet? And there's no indication that movies that would be shown by Facebook wouldn't be ones that have been available previously in other formats. They might be more appealing than Netflix's instant offerings, but possibly not any more appealing than renting through iTunes or just watching on demand through your TV.

There's also the issue of Facebook credits. Unlike many users, I haven't played Farmville, and this isn't a big enough enticement for me to give Facebook my credit card to collect payment. I already have a Netflix account, and I pay monthly for all consumption instead of incrementally on a la carte basis. And given Facebook's, erm, difficulties with privacy, I'm in no big hurry to provide it to the company.

None of this means that Facebook couldn't become a massive player in this space. Between its huge audience and the fact that it isn't Apple or Netflix, the site certainly has the ability to attract attention from every media company with a video to distribute. However, offering older content to rent or buy isn't really going to cut it with a lot of folks, especially if the usual $3 to rent and $10 to own pricing model takes hold. To really revolutionize online streaming, Facebook will have to come up with something novel to get the attention of users like me, exactly what it did when it went from being a niche site to becoming a ubiquitous network.

Are you going to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook? How do you think Facebook can become the major player in online video streaming? Let us know in the Comments section.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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16 comments
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  • Facebook as a movie platform: I doubt it.

    I seriously doubt that people will flock to Facebook to watch movies -or even TV shows for that matter.
    The church where TV and Internet are marrying is the living room, not the internet browser -hence the growing number of alternative ways of accessing content via devices that connect to your TV, not that disconnect from it. People protect their TV viewing experience despite the growing number of folks who are ditching cable for a browser (to connect the laptop to the PC anyways).
    Facebook is not a viable platform for viewing movies; just because they will build it does not mean they will come.
    asg749d@...
  • Facebook has too many "automatic" defaults that are bad news

    I really don't trust Facebook with my money. Sorry, fellas. I've only used Facebook Credits twice and got burned big time once. Note: if you buy someone else something with facebook credits, from then on, you'll buy them whatever else they click to buy, until you realize what's going on and stop it. <br><br>There are no warnings the second-third-fourth-fifth ... time when you click "buy," no logins, no way to verify or even say "sure, debit my account again and again, as long as I keep clicking."
    Tadd Peake
  • RE: I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

    As much as I like facebook I think it is trying to be too many things. I'm good with watching my BluRay copy of Dark Knight...
    athynz
  • RE: I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

    What asg749d and other may not realize is that many new TVs have facebook access built in. So taking it off the TV to the web browser isn't actually going that far.

    As for me, I won't be watching it for two reasons... first of all, I'll bet it only works in the US. Second, facebook credits expire. So I'm not going to get suckered into a deal of having to buy more credits than I need and then not finding anything useful to do with them.
    TBone2k
  • RE: I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

    My question is are people really renting these steaming videos on a per movie basis? I can understand the Netflix model, for $8 you can stream your little heart out all month. Given that, do people actually purchase a movie rental through iTunes or now Facebook for $3? Seems like a bit of a waste because you can either stream it from Netflix or go to the local Redbox and get a movie for $1.
    Loverock Davidson
  • RE: I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

    Sean Portnoy, you have said everything I've been thinking to myself since the news came out yesterday and my NFLX stocks dropped. I DO NOT care that Warner Bros. is doing this. I'm guessing so long as there are no other major events, those stocks will be trading at the same they were at close on Friday or higher in two weeks.

    In order to be a real competitor, Facebook would have to have as high quality of client-end software that Netflix has. It would also have to reach as many different clients as Netflix does. It would have to be a universal player, not a custom player for each movie or movie studio (or w/e those giants like Warner Bros. are called.) Facebook would also need to stream TV shows and all that other good stuff that Netflix has.

    Plus a bunch of others that I had an my head but can't think of now.

    Let's say Facebook met those requirements and became a seamless option for watching movies. They would maybe cause me to worry about my stocks with Netflix, but nope. You see, it would just help boost the market to digital streaming that much more, and in the long run Netflix will grow larger. The saying for that is: competition is healthy.
    mikeken763
  • RE: I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

    Its dealing with facebook enough said. Why anyone would have anything to do with facebook is beyond me. It's unsecure, unsafe, steals info, and is hacked daily so sure give them your credit info then a list of idiots who use facebook should be made public so you know who in live to avoid . This way normal people can get around the facebook idiot users and save so much stress and annoyment.
    Fletchguy
    • RE: I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

      @Fletchguy I was wondering when the facebook hating trolls would chime in...
      athynz
  • RE: I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

    I stay away from anything FacePLANT has to offer.
    james347
  • RE: I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

    No use for FaceBook or any of the services like it, even linkedin. I was tempted, because my son decided to keep his cancer diary there for folks to read but you can't refuse ANY cookies of ANY type! So I have my daughter in Colorado e-mail copies of his posts to me instead. No way anyone gets that much free (covert) access to my system.
    tom@...
  • RE: I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

    I would have to agree. I would think that companies like Warner Bros. would put out a movie that is more than likely to want to be viewed. Take for example the new Harry Potter. I know that it comes out to DVD next month, but I would have thought that WB would have thought about this more strategically. If they put out Harry Potter, they could attract more attention to it, then when it finally gets released to video, more people will be more willing to go out and buy it. Hence more revenue for them. I definitely will not be watching The Dark Knight on Facebook.
    J.Fuller112
  • RE: I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

    The issue here I think is do you need to see a movie while it is current? If so you will pay more one way or the other. I'm old school so I like to collect my favorites on DVD when they become avaiable cheaply. Since a Blockbuster rental movie from 1 year to recent release here in Ontario costs $6 with tax and the Local Library is free I checkout anything I'm uncertain about at the Library and buy those I consider "collectors" at the local Bargain Centers when they become available there. This past week I spent $30 to own these movies that I thought were worth collecting (some were previously viewed). <br>Vincent Price Screen Legends collection(4 discs-8 movies)<br>The Dark Night<br>Batman Returns<br>Village of the Damned & Children of the Damned<br>The Hidden & Hidden 2 <br>Heathers<br>Pandorum<br>Inglorious Bastards<br>The Ghost Writer<br>Syriana & Michael Clayton<br>Princess Bride<br>21 movies for $30 - and I can watch them over and over again I figure I'm up to 25 times each on the Terminator and Die Hard movies. Not everybodies cup of tea maybe, but I't keeps me happy
    stillgolfing
  • RE: I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

    I'd agree on the general sentiment that I have no need to watch Dark Knight through Facebook. In terms of video within FB, though, I do watch some clips posted without leaving the site: The Daily Show, BBC Comedy, music videos come to mind. These are all free though.

    The main point you make, for me, is about handing over sensitive data to FB. I already shy away from anything like mobile number, addresses, even photo tagging to some extent. There is no way I'm willingly putting any kind of financial information on file with them for the foreseeable future. If it's through PayPal or some such it would be more attractive but, of course, FB is pushing its own currency and will want to keep this internal.

    With each new addition, I wonder if FB steps closer to a time when it will feel too bloated for users and we'll see an exodus? I like the site and use it regularly, yet I don't want it to be the window to my online world.
    steve_abovethestatic
  • RE: I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook (and why Netflix shouldn't worry -- yet)

    I don't get it. What is Facebook trying to do? Bring the entire internet onto ONE website and become the 21st Century equivalent of Prodigy?!?

    "A jack of all trades is master of none."
    Scott Kitts
  • RE: I'm not paying to watch The Dark Knight on Facebook

    There is nothing appealing about this plan to me. I would rather the studios get behind Netflix and allow people to stream new movies.

    I am not going to watch ANY movies on Facebook. If I am going to pay for a single movie I would do so through Amazon so that I could use my Roku boxes to watch it. This is typical of the studios. They think because so many people liked the movie that it would be a good release to launch this service with? The studios are completely out of touch with what the consumers want.
    Cyberpyr8
  • Too expensive.

    For $10/month I get on average 8 DVDs through the mail and a ton of content streaming live with Netflix. $3 for a movie is simply not going to cut it unless the studios get together and drive Netflix out of business and/or mandate huge price increases.

    I suspect this will be as exciting as the $50 to watch an "in theater" movie instantly in your living room.

    TripleII
    TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827