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Is Facebook The Future For Movie Rentals

It can be argued that many things in life are now becoming more 'social' - everyday actions including watching television, shopping and listening to music are all processes that can now be integrated with social media. The idea of bringing a social aspect into these otherwise individual activities is to make them more interactive and to build a community of people with common interests who wish to share their opinions.

The latest industry to turn 'social' is the movie rental business. On Tuesday 17th January, Lions Gate became the first film studio to simultaneously release a rental option via Facebook as part of a film launch in which the DVD and Blu-Ray also became available for purchase on the same day. The move was done for several reasons, to increase awareness of the studio as a whole, to increase interaction with the movie, and to allow the studio to gain information on the film viewers for marketing purposes.

Enabling movie rentals to become social is a clever move, with over 800 million active Facebook users worldwide; the studios certainly have a very wide audience. Users are choosing to spend more time on the networking site than ever before, with so many applications available people do not need to navigate away from the website therefore allowing users to purchase movies for rent on the site makes sense.

A benefit of renting movies via Facebook is that users can truly interact with the film without leaving the social media site. Normally someone watching a film would have to stop paying attention to the film and go on Facebook or Twitter to write a comment, whereas as social rentals through Facebook means that users can comment within the same platform. This technology also means that when someone watches a rented film on Facebook which their friend has previously seen also on Facebook and has commented, the viewer will be able to see their friends comment at the same point in the film in which they wrote it.

Additionally, brands that have paid for product placement within the movie can be 'Liked' - for example, if a character was drinking a can of coke, the viewer would be able to click on the can to 'Like' the Coca-Cola brand, creating a further dimension of interactivity.

It is expected that many different services will follow in the 'social' direction throughout 2012, movie rentals is just the next in a long line, however in the meantime it is exciting to explore these new social adventures.