Social Cinema: Will Film Distribution via Facebook Cut Out the Middleman?

  • Hollywood studios are starting to use Facebook as a direct-to-consumer platform for streaming films, possibly cutting out services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon in the process.
  • Universal, Lionsgate and Warner Bros. have distributed some 45 films via the Social Cinema app from Milyoni (pronounced million-eye). “What Zynga is to social gaming, Milyoni is to social entertainment,” reads the company’s website.
  • Miramax and Paramount have used similar apps to offer movies for Facebook credits on fan pages.
  • Rentals based on credits are running the equivalent of $3-$5. Facebook draws a 30 percent cut of transaction revenues.
  • Ad Age Digital suggests the studios’ willingness to offer rentals via social network sites “may reflect their desire to foster competition among online distribution platforms,” adding, “Miramax CEO Mike Lang said that digital monopolies were a greater threat to the film industry than piracy and that his studio had been aware of the importance of a competitive marketplace when doing deals with Netflix and Hulu.”

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