Hollywood studios progressively look to social media and network sites like Facebook as a distribution platform. Still, more work needs to be done to educate and turn social media users into audiences. Once they are hooked, it is a bright future for Hollywood and the sagging DVD sales.
Flickme is a social streaming startup with a library of more than 1,000 movies for rent or purchase by way of Facebook and Twitter integration. Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. are participating along with the notable venture capital firm Sequoia.
The new video streaming platform was founded by Mitch Galbraith and Mark Smallcombe on the bases of the communal element of movies with the social element of the Web. Visiting Flickme the user will immediately notice the social networking aspect of the movie website.
“We sort of had this epiphany where we said, ‘This is really transactional and impersonal,'” says Galbraith, CEO of flickme told Seattle pi. “You sort of have this environment where you find a movie and watch it and go about your business, but there wasn’t much that was very social or fun about the process.”
The San Mateo, Calif. company plans to fill that social void when they stay at home and watch a movie on DVD or video stream. The platform may not supply popcorn and crowded movie theaters, but it plans to keep a social aspect of going to the movies.
Obviously, studios see the value of using social media to sale movies. Miramax’s eXperience went live this month, offering 20 titles to rent on Facebook. Universal Pictures not long ago launched its Social Theater application with The Big Lebowski. Paramount Pictures hopped on board by making its Jackass movies available for rental through Facebook. The omnipresent Warner Bros. offers a few movies such as The Dark Knight for 30 Facebook credits or $3.
The “sharable discount” feature separates flickme from the other Facebook movie sharing studio programs. The feature promotes recommendations among friends. A user can rent a film for $1.49 if a friend recommends it. As long as the original view pays regular price ($2.99 – $3.99), the discount works for up to 10 friends via Facebook and Twitter. Roughly, a third of the films on flickme are available for this offer.
Galbraith says the concept of discount recommendations comes from the fact some people spend too much time looking for a movie to download or rent. They are more likely to follow the recommendation while getting the discount at the same time. I am inclined to agree with him. As the site generates more and more users, then the 10 available for discount based on a user’s recommendation will disappear fast.
Of course the studios love the social media recommendations because word of mouth is the best marketing. I think, this concept will catch on, and we will see similar sharable discounts on other video streaming and DVD rental sites.