Who Needs Netflix When You Can See Your Favorite Films on Facebook? It depends!

March 18th, 2011

by Lauren Shapiro*

netflixWith over 20 million subscribers, Netflix has been dominating the at-home-movie scene. As a subscription-based platform, Netflix allows users to watch unlimited TV episodes and movies via the Internet on either a Mac or PC or stream the content to a television using devices such as Xbox 360, Wii, or PS3. A subscription, according to their website, is $7.99 a month for unlimited streaming video or for DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming video, plans start at $9.99 a month.

However, Facebook’s 500 million friends will not be counted out, as soon to be seen (pun intended), the social networking site will be a potential competitor to Netflix.  Warner Brothers’ announcement of their availability on Facebook comes with little surprise as telecasts on Facebook have become more and more popular. Even the President and First Lady have taken to the Facebook airwaves to promote the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention on March 10th

The Warner Brothers’ Facebook application will allow users to choose from a select number of full-length films priced at 30 Facebook credits. Facebook credits are an online currency that allow users to purchase applications and games on the site. Thirty credits equate to $3. Users can also acquire Facebook credits through applications and games also available on the site. Once the credits are redeemed, in this manner, the user has 48 hours to watch the movie. 

But don’t think that Facebook is alone in the quest to provide pay-per-view movies. Google’s YouTube has been offering online movie rentals since 2010, allowing users to access independent films and recently more popular films like Scary Movie 4 and Hannibal Rising. According to the YouTube Store, movie rentals range between $2.99 and $4.99. Other lesser known services have begun to crop-up as well. For instance, Zediva streams new releases through what amounts to a loophole in copyright law. The site offers “new release movies you can’t get on Amazon, Netflix, or iTunes that cost $2 for a digital rental that lasts two full weeks,” explains this Wired.com article. “The company literally rents you a DVD and a DVD player, with your computer, tablet or Google TV as the remote control.”

Will Facebook give Netflix a run for its money? It seems that Netflix users and Warner Brothers Facebook application users will be targeting different consumers. Netflix users are avid movie watchers and actually save money by paying a monthly fee rather than a paying per view. However, Facebook may gain viewership with users who are on the go and want to rent one movie at a time inexpensively. Also, Facebook users who accumulate credits have the ability to use their credits to rent movies. The Warner Brother’s Facebook app pales in breadth and depth to the movie selection offered by Netflix, however, only time will tell how much of a threat Facebook’s movie rentals will truly be to the reigning streaming-video service.

If you are a subscriber of Netflix and a user of Facebook, will you be trading in your subscription? What about for one of these other services increasingly becoming available? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.


 *Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now serve as Director of Client Services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce 

One Response to “Who Needs Netflix When You Can See Your Favorite Films on Facebook? It depends!”

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