After recently acquiring Instagram, Mark Zuckerberg continues his conquest for world dominance with news that Facebook will be streaming the first ever US movie simultaneously with a release in theaters. The film? MARLEY, Kevin Macdonald’s definitive documentary on one of the most beloved musicians ever.
Shangri-La Entertainment, Tuff Gong Pictures and Milyoni announced today that Academy Award®-winning director Kevin Macdonald’s definitive documentary about the legendary musician Bob Marley will be the first U.S. release ever to be made available for streaming on Facebook® the same day as its theatrical release, April 20. Using Milyoni’s Social Cinema technology, Facebook’s users will be able to instantly watch “MARLEY” streaming from the Bob Marley Facebook page. Social Cinema provides fans with a shared, social viewing experience with the ability to chat with friends, answer questions and share and tag favorite clips. Over 37 million fans currently “like” the Bob Marley Facebook page, making it one of the top 20 most popular pages in the world.
The PG-13 film will be available to stream online for a limited time at www.facebook.com/bobmarley starting at 12:01 a.m. on April 20th – the same day it hits theaters and On Demand – for $6.99 via PayPal or by credit card. A portion of the proceeds from the film’s Facebook sales will benefit the charity organization Save the Children.
“We are proud to have the ‘MARLEY’ documentary support Save the Children,” said Executive Producer Ziggy Marley. “Helping underprivileged children is something that our father would do every day, so it is very appropriate for ‘MARLEY’ the film to be partnering with a charity whose main focus is helping children. Bob would be very happy.”
While both Bob’s legacy being properly honored and the charitable aspects are commendable, the real story here might be that this could mean the beginning of a large shift in how consumers view movies, in general. After recently reading how streaming videos have already overtaken DVDs as the public preference for their popcorn accompaniment, this relative blip should have competition like NetFlix and regular old movie theaters shaking in their boots. The reasoning? Sheer numbers, of course.
The fact that Facebook had 845 million active users by the end of December 2011 means Zuckerberg has potential to completely stomp out competitors with so many folks already locked into the number one social networking site in the world. Sure, the 23 million subscribers Netflix has are impressive, but can their dated content compete with a company that can offer brand-new movies and will more than likely add back catalouges to their cloud as time goes on? Sure, the price might of renting one Facebook film might cost as much as a month of Netflix viewing for now, but it’s only a matter of time before fees decrease and the selection is comparable to competition.
Plus, folks who complain about the hefty price of heading to the theater could now potentially have the option of reallocating their money and still providing the latest flick de jour to their loved ones. Which route do think a family of six would go to see the latest Twilight film? Upwards of $70 for 3D glasses and overpriced snacks, or a laptop in front of the couch for around five bucks? To most folks, that’d be no-brainier.
That said would you be willing to skip out on the trip to the movie theater and cancel your subscription to Netflix if you could stream any movie you wanted, live on Facebook? Or, are people going to scoff at the idea, simply because small-screen viewing isn’t ideal for most major pictures? Either way, this is just another power move for a company who has no plan on slowing down anytime soon.