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March 9, 2011 • News

Facebook to Enter Video Streaming

I admit, I’m not a big Facebook-er. I use it as a necessary evil, not a destination site. But it looks like the folks who brought us the “like” button are taking their insinuation into our lives a step farther; now they’re going to stream video too!

According to the Wall Street Journal, Warner Brothers is floating a trial balloon in the form of of “The Dark Knight”. Rather than stream it through a subscription service like Netflix, you’ll be able to rent “The Dark Knight” on Facebook for 30 credits (or $3.00). While it’s only one movie, it’s enough to get many people sweating bullets over what this means for Netflix.

The WSJ says:

The mere threat of a Web giant like Facebook entering the movie-streaming arena was enough to spook investors in Netflix and Coinstar. Netflix shares were down $11.95, or 5.8%, to $195.45 in 4 p.m. Nasdaq trading Tuesday. Coinstar shares fell $2.36, or 5.3%, to $42.18 Tuesday on the Nasdaq.

Some analysts on Tuesday said that Facebook could evolve into a serious competitor for Netflix and other online video services.

“We believe that on a short-term basis, this is not an immediate threat to Netflix,” wrote Goldman Sachs analyst Ingrid Chung in a note. “On a longer-term basis, we think that Facebook could become a credible threat as its video business evolves.”

Steve Swasey, a spokesman for Netflix, said that “we’ve said for a long time when you have a big growing market there will be competition.”

I am very curious what this turns into long-term. It seems like studios are desperate to find a way to make money, but is the audience for a one-time rental the same as Netflix? And will people be willing to put up with watching a whole movie on Facebook, versus on their iPad or nice big HDTV? Personally, I like Netflix because I can watch it on my TV…unless it was a movie I really wanted to see, and I had absolutely no other options, I can’t see myself renting through Facebook.

Would you rent through Facebook over Netflix or iTunes? Share your thoughts below!

Via The Wall Street Journal

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