As an “experiment” Warner Bros is offering digital rentals of Batman: The Dark Knight through Facebook. Users buy the rental with Facebook Credits and Facebook takes a cut.
But that’s probably not a business Facebook is really interested in as such. Mark Zuckerberg would much rather take a check from Reed Hastings to deliver customers to him than have to go talk to the content owners to licence their shows.
This is really an experiment in Facebook commerce. Facebook’s overall business strategy is to have as much activity go through its social graph so it can take a tax on that activity (and give the businesses something back in return). Facebook is an amazing platform for games to go viral and in return Facebook takes a 30% cut of virtual credits plus hundreds of millions in advertising for games.
Commerce is that next billion dollar business: friend recommendations and reviews are already huge drivers of commerce, and Facebook can give that a boost by helpfully pointing out the stuff your friends like and you might want to buy. Amazon’s Facebook integration shows one way the future is headed, and Facebook is already talking with other e-commerce giants about partnerships. This is one step on that road.
One thing is certain: once you can buy The Social Network through Facebook, some kind of recursive loop effect will collapse the universe upon itself.
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