Sony Mulls Video Distribution On Facebook

Sony Pictures is mulling whether to distribute movie rentals or sales via Facebook, following the example set by Warner Brothers.

Which video company will become the next to start showing flicks on Facebook?

Not long after Warner Brothers become the first to offer a movie for rent on the social network, an executive from archrival Sony said publicly that the company is considering doing something similar, according to Hollywood Reporter.

That came up during a panel at Digital Hollywood’s 2011 Media Summit New York that included John Calkins, executive vice president of global digital and commercial innovation at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

When asked whether Sony would do something similar to what Warner Brothers is doing, he replied:

We’re looking at things like that…. Our view is that Facebook certainly is a very viable pool, large pool for access for people that are interested in media content… 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… So, it’s both marketing and distribution.. Why are we running theatrical trailers without “buy” buttons? I think at some point that starts to happen… What we are really most excited about Facebook for is that resurfacing of a title, maybe recent or old, when our marketing budget has subsided, but now we can turn it over to consumers and in effect use their marketing budget… A few weeks into DVD, we really don’t talk about the title anymore. … 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.

Until yesterday, most people (including the folks at Sony) were expecting Netflix to become the first to rent movies via Facebook. Warner Brothers leapfrogging into the first mover spot probably has the effect of lighting a proverbial fire under the bottoms of executives at other home video entertainment companies — meaning that any kind of race into this space might gain some urgency. We expect to see other entrants into this arena soon.

Readers, which companies do you think will come next with Facebook video offerings?