Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Facebook puts Big Lebowski up for community viewing

Well, Facebook is going to make a big pop-culture splash into the online video rental world with The Big Lebowski. It'll cost you three bucks for 48 hours, but you can find a way to pass $1 discounts onto your friends.

But I started searching for it today, and it certainly isn't much now. The social theater page on FB's site is um, embarrassingly spare,especially with over 5,100 active viewers. Just look at it:

Not exactly jaw-dropping. My friends have more visually interesting, engaging fb pages; hell, some of my enemies do (tho I wouldn't know).

And then following the "App" link at the top of the page takes you the Social Theater website, which is also not particularly impressive. Still, I like hearing about new ways to rent videos online, even if I'd never use them. Does that sound contradictory?

For many, Facebook is a probably a great forum to watch movies with other people, comment on the things that they do and don't like. It's a bit of a shame that it's going to promote a rental system, as they should actually generate a fan base by making it free at first...  Well, in this economy, anyone would want to get their hands on cash as soon as they can, right?

For my part, a friend and I occasionally watched videos online, synching up the time to hit "play" or "pause" for video breaks. We were always hundreds of miles apart, so we'd use AOL Instant Messenger (back in the day, huh?) to talk to each other while we watched the same material.

That was a lot of fun, and it sounds as if Facebook worked out a similar system - and they should've done this ages ago. You can say that the studio rights hadn't been available before, but FB could've set up communal viewing of anything that wouldn't raise copyright issues - user uploaded vids, flix in the public domain... That would've built a big community to eventually show the rental system. Then again, fb already has a big community for everything, right?

I invite anyone who tries it to let me know how it you like it and describe how it works...

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