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Facebook and Warner Bros. make deal to offer movie rentals

by Kelly MacNeil on March 9, 2011

New competition for online entertainment is coming in the form of Facebook, as movie studio Warner Bros. announced a deal with the social networking giant, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The new Facebook offering represents a threat to companies such as Netflix, who in the last month has had to contend with Amazon.com announcing an online entertainment package through its Amazon Prime service.

Facebook is now poised to do battle with both Netflix and Amazon, as shares of both latter companies dropped at Tuesday's closing – Netflix by 5.8 percent and Amazon by 1.3 percent, according to Reuters.

Warner Bros. executives said that they are the first movie studio to offer rentals on Facebook.

"Facebook has become a daily destination for hundreds of millions of people. Making our films available through Facebook is a natural extension of our digital distribution efforts. It gives consumers a simple, convenient way to access and enjoy our films through the world's largest social network," said Thomas Gewecke, the president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.

Facebook users can visit a movie's homepage – for example, The Dark Knight's official Facebook page – and click the "rent" icon, which subsequently charges users via Facebook credits, according to Hollywood Reporter.

A movie rental would cost about 30 Facebooks credits, or the equivalent of $3. Movies are available for viewing for 48 hours after the purchase.

According to Reuters, the deal does not represent a partnership between Facebook and Warner Bros. The latter is said to have developed a Facebook application independently, as it becomes part of more than 400 applications and online games featured on the social network site, reports the news source. 

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