Warner bringing films to Facebook
NEW YORK — Movie rentals are coming to Facebook. Warner Bros. says it is testing a service that will offer select movies for purchase or rental on the largest online social network.
Facebook users who visit the official page of “Batman: The Dark Knight’’ will be able to click a “watch’’ icon and pay 30 Facebook credits, or $3, to watch the movie, streamed through a Facebook application.
Renters will have access to a movie for 48 hours. Warner Bros will add other movies in coming months.
The page had nearly 4 million “likes’’ as of yesterday afternoon.
Warner Bros. did not say how much it will cost to buy movies.
“Making our films available through Facebook is a natural extension of our digital distribution efforts,’’ said Thomas Gewecke, president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.
The offering is open only to people in the United States.
“While officially dubbed a test, we expect to see more studios get behind the effort given the large platform and higher price point,’’ Jefferies analyst Youssef H. Squali wrote to investors. He sees the Facebook-Warner Bros. deal as “yet another caution sign’’ that Netflix Inc.’s stock value is too high. Netflix lost $11.95, or 5.8 percent, to close at $195.45.
“The competitive playing field is getting crowded,’’ the analyst said. “We expect this competition to curtail Netflix’s subscriber growth and drive higher content costs, impacting revenue growth and [profit] margins over time.’’
Netflix, which rents movies online and on DVDs, had no comment.