Apparently there really is nothing to stop Facebook from taking over the entire world. It’s becoming quite clear that Facebook is slowly phasing in a payment system for online shopping, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Facebook “Like” box you see on nearly every website will soon have a sister box right beside it for Facebook “Buy”. Step one in FB’s plan to monetize everything online is the movie rental industry. Here is what Parmy Olsen from FORBES reported this morning:
If there was any doubt about how Facebook was planning to make money, the social network’s latest move to rent out movies within its pages should help answer the question. Warner Bros has become the first Hollywood studio to offer movies directly on Facebook, starting with blockbuster film “The Dark Knight.” Users can rent the title through the official Facebook fan page, and click on the “rent” icon to have it for 48 hours. They pay for it using 30 Facebook Credits, equivalent to $3. My own attempts to trial the service were flummoxed when it appeared the service is only available in the United States. But Peter Kafka at All Things Digital tweeted this morning that it took 90 seconds to access the movie via his phone, from first click to stream. This is significant for the technology powerhouses that are already elbowing each other to dominate your living room, including Apple, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Kafka points out that while other video sites are trying to figure out how to add social “hooks” into their experience, Facebook doesn’t have that problem. “It is THE social hook.” Crucially, Facebook requires that you pay for the service using Credits, its proprietary currency which till now has mostly been used for buying virtual goods on games like Farmville. Movie rentals marks an extension of the credits system beyond virtual goods to real services, and (who knows) could potentially lead to physical goods. There are only a few retailers that have Facebook stores, including European online retailer ASOS, and they currently only take real cash through regular payment systems. (See “The Future Of Buying Through Facebook.”) But eventually it could make sense for them to adopt the Facebook Credits system too, reinforcing the popularity of Facebook as a destination for spending our money. That can’t be a bad route to making it themselves.
I would imagine that a very cold shiver just ran up the collective spine of every one of Mark Zuckerberg’s rival CEOs.