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Sony May Also Rent Movies on Facebook

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Kevin Rawlings
    Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady" viewed on a laptop

    After news that Warner Bros. was going to start renting films on Facebook, other Hollywood studios are watching the phenomenon and deciding how they might start their own campaigns on the social network.

    "I think it's a great first step to begin what eventually turns into more social distribution of titles to people that maybe weren't already fans," John Calkins, executive vice president of global digital and commercial innovation at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, told the Hollywood Reporter. "So, it's both marketing and distribution."

    Calkins also wondered why after movie trailers there was no "Buy" buttons -- which showed a stunning lack of awareness in studio marketing. However, Calkins and other studio panelists at the 2011 Media Summit thought the Facebook campaign may be better suited to a DVD release rather than a theatrical one.

    "A few weeks into DVD, we really don't talk about the title anymore," Calkins said. "If you can have fans do that through something like Facebook, it's incredibly powerful. So, we like the idea. I think it's just very early days."

    As I said before, Facebook became popular selling virtual goods so it only stands to reason it would be a medium to buy and sell real ones. The possibilities for movie titles on a social network could be even more interesting -- imagine a Facebook movie night where your friends watch the movie with commentary. While I hope that doesn't replace popcorn and a night at a friend's house, it could be a new way to connect with far away friends.