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Lights Out Netflix? Facebook (And Its 600 Million Users) Enters "Zero Barriers To Entry" Video Streaming Market

Tyler Durden's picture


Has anyone seen the latest Whitney Tilson NFLX reshort memo? Because if the news that Facebook and its 600 million registered users is entering the video streaming market is true, and it appears to be, the "value inventor" should promptly forget that he topticked the market with his short cover a few weeks back, swallow his pride and actually make money. As for Netflix, the world's most ridiculous zero barriers to entry business model is about to realize why most SWOT analyses typically at least cast a casual glance at said barriers to entry. Because when there are none, you can go from hero to zero in a like amount of time. All Things Digital reports: "The social media giant is taking its first step to connect you with
movies and TV shows, while collecting a fee in the process. It’s going
to let users rent movies directly from the site, using Facebook Credits
to pay for the transaction. First up is “The Dark Knight”, from Time Warner’s Warner Bros.. It will
cost 30 credits, or $3, for a 48-hour rental, via an app the studio has
built for the site. More movies, along with the ability to purchase the
titles outright, are coming." And so, the race to the bottom in Netflix margins begins. Next up: we repeat our prediction that NFLX will be forced to come to market with an equity offering, which will promptly cut the value of the world's most overpriced stock by at least 33%.


Warner Bros. describes the rental as a test, but there’s no reason this shouldn’t work. Facebook has 600 million registered users, and courtesy of Zynga and other social games, a big chunk of them are already using the site’s virtual currency. Easy to connect the dots here.

Just as important: While other video sites are trying to figure out how to add social “hooks” into their experience, Facebook doesn’t have that problem. It is the social hook.

The only odd thing about this combination is that it’s taken this long to come about. Facebook is either the 2nd or 6th-biggest video site in the U.S., depending on who’s counting. And that’s without the benefit of any Hollywood hook-up at all: Just the clips you and your pals put up.

So just imagine what could happen if Mark Zuckerberg and the big studios decide they’re really serious about making this thing work.

And from the Press Release:




BURBANK, CALIF., March 8, 2011 – Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD), a market leader in video-on-demand and electronic sell-through, today announced it will begin testing an offering of selected movies for purchase or rental through Warner Bros. Entertainment’s Facebook movie Pages.  Consumers will be able to use Facebook Credits to easily buy or rent a title, all while staying connected to Facebook.

Starting today, millions of fans who “Liked” Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster film “The Dark Knight” can rent the title through its official Facebook Page (  Consumers simply click on the “rent” icon to apply their Facebook Credits, and within seconds they will begin enjoying the film.  The cost per rental is 30 Facebook Credits or $3.  This offering is presently available only to consumers in the United States.  Additional titles will be made available for rental and purchase on a regular basis over the coming months.

“Facebook has become a daily destination for hundreds of millions of people,” said Thomas Gewecke, President of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.  “Making our films available through Facebook is a natural extension of our digital distribution efforts.  It gives consumers a simple, convenient way to access and enjoy our films through the world’s largest social network.”

Fans will have full control over the film while watching it through their Facebook account for up to 48 hours from purchase.  They can choose to watch it in full screen, pause the movie, and resume playing it when they log back into Facebook.  Consumers will also have full Facebook functionality including the ability to post comments on the movie, interact with friends and update their status.

h/t Eric


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Tue, 03/08/2011 - 09:57 | 1029283 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

I still don't understand why you pay for movies you watch online....




Tue, 03/08/2011 - 09:57 | 1029288 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

ps: alt.binaries.bitchez also contains movies but they are more for the adult spectator :)

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:04 | 1029309 plocequ1
plocequ1's picture

Newgroups is where its at

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 14:16 | 1030251 PuppetRepubl1c
PuppetRepubl1c's picture

the first rule of newsgroups is you do not talk about newsgroups


Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:04 | 1029314 mynhair
mynhair's picture

Quiet, potato-head.  Yer giving out secrets.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:09 | 1029326 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture



Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:16 | 1029356 JonTurk
JonTurk's picture

because they are american

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:37 | 1029424 covert
covert's picture

true, only suckers pay for downloads.


Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:48 | 1029667 pointer
pointer's picture

why don't people just stop watching the bullshit produced by Hollywood - it contributes to the mass brainwashing - no wonder Facebook is on top of it.

Hollywood is a key player in the conditioning of society.

Why are a lot of the movies about stealing Federal Reserve Notes - to help with the illusion that paper fiat money is worth killing for.

People are conditioned without even realizing it - QUIT WATCHING THEIR GARBAGE!

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 09:58 | 1029287 Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

Do Facebook Credits hold their value better than the Dollar?

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:00 | 1029293 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture


It's as good as gold!

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 09:58 | 1029290 monopoly
monopoly's picture

Gonna get interesting.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 14:16 | 1030248 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

you guys act like sheep.  no one is going to pay per movie on facebook..  are they ready to penny up for real content and beef up for the traffic a subscription based model will need??


no - they love to give you crap make believe junk and charge you for every pixel


A big player will buy netflix at somepoint (apple, microsoft, sony?)





Tue, 03/08/2011 - 09:59 | 1029295 gordengeko
gordengeko's picture

Netflix puts anyone?

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:12 | 1029340 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

can I trade them for blockbuster stocks? now where did I put those...


Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:30 | 1029401 gordengeko
gordengeko's picture

Was actually wanting to buy a redbox a few years ago but you can't.  that sux!

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 09:59 | 1029296 BorisTheBlade
BorisTheBlade's picture

Netflix, Facebook, bloody dinosaurs. Torrents b*tches.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 14:20 | 1030260 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

yeah keep thinking that is more than .001 of the market doing that - you add so much to this discussion

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 18:34 | 1031043 BorisTheBlade
BorisTheBlade's picture

i missed something, which discussion? in any case, comment was sacrastic, since torrents are not even video streaming technology.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:00 | 1029300 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Why on Earth would someone pay $3 for a movie you could rent at Redbox for $1?  

Sounds more like they are competing with defunct Blockbuster than Netflix.

If they want to compete with Netflix, they are going to have to get a huge library of movies and offer unlimited streaming for a low monthly fee, not utilize this arbitrary "rental" model.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:10 | 1029336 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

you're looking to it all wrong.



Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:36 | 1029420 malikai
malikai's picture

I was thinking the same thing. $3/48hr of 1 movie seems an awful lot. But I'm sure they'll figure that out sooner or later. Isn't NFLX like $20 or something a month for 3 dvds at a time for a whole month?

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:41 | 1029433 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Or $9/month for one movie at a time + unlimited streaming.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:51 | 1029455 AndrewJackson
AndrewJackson's picture

"Why on Earth would someone pay $3 for a movie you could rent at Redbox for $1? "

Don't worry prices will continue to collapse, but right now Redbox just doesn't offer that much in terms of selection. You can only get whats in that one particular machine. Plus, you have to drive to a kiosk ($ 4-5 gas doesn't make that very attractive + it just isn't convenient).  Thus, paying $ 3 bucks / for a recent movie with high demand is not that bad. Especially when you are doing it from your living room etc.

The reason this is competing against netflix is because their selection is downright terrible. You can not watch any recent movies on there, period! Once prices drop on premium download rentals ($ 1-2) range, netflix is toast. Most people never watch more than 4-5 movies a month and a small price drop of around 33% would easily justify the switch. 

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:34 | 1029601 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Actually, you can have movies delivered to a particular Redbox, and you can search online for what movies are available at which site.  I don't know where you live, but I can walk to two different RedBoxes (or whatever each one is called), and there are probably twenty more within about five minutes drive.  Redbox has taken my area by storm.  The Blcokbuster that was two blocks away is dead and gone (along with the Starbucks, Caribou kicked its ass).

I had Netflix for about a year when it first hit the scene. I found I do not watch enough movies to justify the (albeit meager) cost.  RedBox is like the prepaid cellphone service of movie rentals.  Very casual.


Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:41 | 1029632 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Precisely.  I pass no fewer than three Redboxes on my way home from work, and I live in a very rural area.

Further, the $3 price point is exactly the same as the already established iTunes movie store.  You can rent it for $3 there too, along with a million other titles.  I don't know why anyone thinks that a single movie available over Facebook is such a game changer.  If they were charging $1, then I would agree, but they haven't added ANYTHING to the market with this.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 14:15 | 1030247 Samuel Morales Jr.
Samuel Morales Jr.'s picture

Redbox is taking over. You can ride your bike to get the movies. It ain't like movies are heavy to carry. Plus Redbox is conveniently located in shopping areas like grocery stores as well. Redbox is also old school, because it is visible to the shopper, those not computer savy, or know how to use a computer/internet, and those who do. You don't need expensive broadband to see the movies as well. When you need broadband to see a movie, you are actually paying a lot more than simply going to a box, and selecting movies from it, then it machine dispenses it. Redbox is here to stay I am afraid. This idea we can just consume things over the internet has been blown over before.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 12:41 | 1029873 anthoxanthum
anthoxanthum's picture

They're counting on the branding hype to offset the inflated price and it will work. But Netflix isn't going anywhere due to this. Nor will Redbox lose any customers. This looks targeted at iPad/iPhone types that believe Facebook is a gift from Xenu to change the face of the universe as we know it. /eyeroll

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:01 | 1029302 Rogerwilco
Rogerwilco's picture

Karl Denninger just wet himself.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:07 | 1029321 UninterestedObserver
UninterestedObserver's picture

So what's new?

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:34 | 1029606 aerojet
aerojet's picture

That dude is a total asshat.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 12:25 | 1029823 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

I used to listen and read his site.  Then I found ZH and also realized that he's a douche about PM's.  

He's too wrapped up in blind obedience to the law and government to realize that people will NOT comply with a PM's confiscation order.  

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:01 | 1029303 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Netflix is thinking of moving into the (for now) less competitive cassette tape rental business.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:06 | 1029316 mynhair
mynhair's picture

HTB, anyone?

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:05 | 1029318 UninterestedObserver
UninterestedObserver's picture

Things like "barriers to entry","margin compression" and "competition" are from the now defunct school of fundamental analysis - here in the new American ponzi market all you need to do is step right up buy some stocks and you are off to the races (against inflation)

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:06 | 1029320 Josh Randall
Josh Randall's picture

Facebook still doesn't impress me - they keep throwing $hit against the wall hoping somthing will stick so they can add on to their flawed business model. It is a great Free Program that should be supported by ads; but whenever they try and add costs or a menu of play to play services on to consumers it will flop like the maginot line

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:21 | 1029325 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Yeah but eventually they will know close to everything about everybody and that's worth money to someone.  Soon they'll have a massive database on your video viewing habits.

Just wait until you need a Facebook account to do things that shouldn't have anything to do with Facebook - just like you need a driver's licence in many states to do things that have nothing to do with driving.  Explaining to a potental employer why you don't have a Facebook account might become a lot like explaining that although your criminal record is sealed, you don't have anything to hide.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:36 | 1029614 aerojet
aerojet's picture

It's the AOL of this decade.  It will die, give it time.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 13:05 | 1029956 Saxxon
Saxxon's picture

+1 Aerojet. Yawning at it all...

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 14:21 | 1030267 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

AOL actually provided a service..  not just a scrapbook gossip fence

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:08 | 1029328 gosh
gosh's picture

Let's sum up the competition:

1.  Blockbuster coming out of bankruptcy with less debt, renewed focus

2.  Redbox to offer streaming movies

3.  Amazon offering free movie streaming to their members

4.  Hulu

5.  Facebook

6.  Comcast also said today they will compete with netflix


All bubbles burst when growth declines.  Growth declines with competition.  Im shorting netflix, thinking of adding to my position.  When a bubble bursts it can go down 80-90% in a year or so.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:09 | 1029333 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

Apple should resurect their 'Apple TV' on the IPad

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 14:24 | 1030272 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

that space is ripe for M&A  -  don't think bids aren't being considered in the big boys war rooms

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:09 | 1029329 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

NTFX is priced like it was a total monopoly (Microsoft style) and held that spot forever

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:08 | 1029330 Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

My guess would be that they will try to blow the shorts out of the Market first.

Old Wall Street trick.  When bad news comes out, run the stock into the stratisphere.

Blow the shorts out of the Market and then take it down.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:10 | 1029332 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

NFLX gapping well below its trend line.

Looks like the party is "ovahh" on this one.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:36 | 1029615 The Axe
The Axe's picture

NFLX   finish.....rats leaving the ship....only if they had porn I could download...then I buy some

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:19 | 1029361 Al89
Al89's picture

I type in <movie name> stagevu into Google search. I watch whichever film I want to watch in DVD quality for free.

If that doesn't work I check youku, zshare, megavideo (free service).

If people can't instantly stream for free in DVD quality they download it, in DVD quality.

All while saving much needed $$.


Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:49 | 1029450 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

It's called Pirating and your IP is '' ;)

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 14:47 | 1030305 PuppetRepubl1c
PuppetRepubl1c's picture

incorrect, no end user has been prosecuted for using these services.  The only way to get sued is to upload/seed copyrighted content.  These streaming sites are completely safe (litigation wise) for the random web surfer (you would not be charged with distribution, which is where the penalties are focused).  The site host will likely get sued, but then their website is most likely not located in the US.  Some guy in asia/russia using a fake name will get a DMCA notice and that will be all that happens.


Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:23 | 1029370 Agent P
Agent P's picture

"As for Netflix, the world's most ridiculous zero barriers to entry business model is about to realize why most SWOT analyses typically at least cast a casual glance at said barriers to entry."

Porter's Five Forces Bitchez!

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:25 | 1029386 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

  I get a chuckle out of these discussions....

All this monetization of media delivery is predicated on the internet. The dot-com boom-bust was a classic one, but like the railroads 125 yrs ago, after the smoke cleared we were left with some real infrastructure...

The housing boom which followed was the greatest bust in American history, we got left with a bunch of liabilities not assets... If 1 trillion of the money thrown at the housing market had been thrown at things like CSP, geo-thermal etc... we might have had something to show except for stuccoed Mcmansions and granite counters.

We shot our wad on self-indulgence....

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:46 | 1029442 bobby02
bobby02's picture

But it felt real good, no?


Seriously, what makes me laugh is that a lot of the hype used to pump up the internet bubble in the late '90s, namely that it would increase productivity drastically and the way we do many things turned out to be correct, it just took 10+ years to get there.


Speaking of railroads, you will recall that the original owners for the most part went belly up. What does that say about this generation of entreprenures? Even facebook has no barriers to entry - it just reached critical mass first. You want to pay 50 large for that company?

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:50 | 1029456 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

 50 large... hell no, would I short them? Hell no, too many fools out there. I just put a sign on it..  Do Not Disturb...

BTW, latest valuation is 65 large... compare that to the market cap of a real company...


I made some good money on NFLX puts a while back, but missed reloading recently. It is about to become a crowded trade and there will be other oppurtunities...

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:08 | 1029505 bobby02
bobby02's picture

Agreed. Probably worth covering at this point, at least partially. Still, in the medium term, it seems to be channeling CROX.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 14:20 | 1030266 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

"But it felt real good, no?

Seriously, what makes me laugh is that a lot of the hype used to pump up the internet bubble in the late '90s, namely that it would increase productivity drastically and the way we do many things turned out to be correct, it just took 10+ years to get there.

Speaking of railroads, you will recall that the original owners for the most part went belly up. What does that say about this generation of entreprenures? Even facebook has no barriers to entry - it just reached critical mass first. You want to pay 50 large for that company?"


Smarter Than You Think: Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:39 | 1029623 aerojet
aerojet's picture

Well, the market demographic is still the Boomers, so it only makes sense.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:34 | 1029395 infotechsailor
infotechsailor's picture

I think this is overstated significance.

FB doesn't have the infrastructure of netflix. Streaming to my BluRay,
to SamSung TVs, to Apple products, and to XBOX. Now, I realize these products
often have facebook apps, but not ones capable of streaming this content.

This is about the studios trying to offer content directly to the consumer, without 
going through netflix or another provider. I believe content direct from studio to
the consumer is possible and may get better in the future, but posting it on Facebook
for $3 per movie just isn't going to cut it.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:37 | 1029423 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

<<<  I think this is overstated significance. >>>

You are calling 600 million registered customers "overstated"?

<<< FB doesn't have the infrastructure of netflix. >>>

That can be remedied.


Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:42 | 1029637 tmosley
tmosley's picture

Not for free it can't.

And no-one is going to want it when they are charging the same as iTunes and every other two bit operation out there.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 13:29 | 1030057 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

Nobody said it could be done for free.  If Facebook wanted the infrastructure, they have plenty of capital to get it.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 12:20 | 1029795 ShatteredArm
ShatteredArm's picture

Facebook doesn't have 600 million customers.  I, and probably hundreds of millions of others, have a Facebook account, but have never purchased anything from facebook.  So I am not a customer.

At this point, this is just a cheaper Amazon video, with a more limited selection.  Until Facebook offers a true subscription model, it won't be a competitor to Netflix.  It might happen at some point down the road, but there's no use in getting excited about it yet.  I'll keep my Netflix account until someone else allows me to stream all of the movies (not just popular ones, but the obscure ones as well) I can get from Netflix at a similar rate.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 13:32 | 1030063 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

The fact that you don't "pay" money to use Facebook doesn't mean you are not a customer.  You register in order to use their services, and you give them information in exchange for the right to consume their services.  Therefore, you are a customer.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 12:55 | 1029920 William Wics
William Wics's picture

If I'm not mistaken, Netflix does not have Netflix's infrastructure. They are using Amazon's cloud for the suggestions and customer interface:

While Level 3 does the streaming:


Netflix is an idea with a client list.


Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:31 | 1029406 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

Netflix crushed Blockbuster.

Facebook could (and should) crush Netflix.

The cycle of life goes on.

Note to Facebook: Don't buy Netflix, crush them!

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 10:42 | 1029432 cocoablini
cocoablini's picture

Netlfix is a superior product and value. 3 bucks is 1/3 of my netflix subscription for one lousy movie
BUT facebook is going to make virtual fiat momey, like farmville credits. That IS intersting.
We have jumped the shark

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:08 | 1029500 AndrewJackson
AndrewJackson's picture

The put spreads on nflx look awfully tempting. 

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:17 | 1029541 SilverFiend
SilverFiend's picture

Until Facebook can get cheaper than flix ie $8 a month for unlimited content why worry?  Besides,  when people realize that Facebook has beome just another MSM sellout to the likes of JP Morgue they will switch to the newer hotter site.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:20 | 1029556 HedgeFundLIVE
HedgeFundLIVE's picture

our support levels for NFLX:





Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:37 | 1029622 The Axe
The Axe's picture

Please NFLX has a very limited library online currently... over-priced POS

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:38 | 1029625 Mark4124
Mark4124's picture

I think it is funny how that totally rediculous Jim Cramer is quick to bash CSTR with its significantly more difficult to replicate model, whereas he loves NFLX which has no barriers to entry whatsoever.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:39 | 1029629 Catullus
Catullus's picture

I got rid of my Facebook account. Had it during the glory days when only college kids could access it to create funny named groups and invite people to happy hour. It's just a bunch of bullshit now. If it doesn't help you get laid or make friends, what good is it as "social media" device? It's not. Buy a puppy and go for a walk.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:48 | 1029660 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Will Bernanke & Geithner deem Netflix TBTF?


Tue, 03/08/2011 - 11:59 | 1029715 Jean Lazard de ...
Jean Lazard de Rotschild's picture

This will probably add another 50 billion to facebook´s private market "value" ROFL

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 12:05 | 1029738 zinag
zinag's picture

I know I'm a complete amatuer here but if somebody, say GS, had some insider knowledge and shorted NetFlix during their quick climb, wouldn't they stand to make a killing?


I apologize if this comment has no place here.

Tue, 03/08/2011 - 14:28 | 1030271 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Goldman Sachs would never act so unethically to their valued clients as to undermine their positions that Goldman hyped, making money while offloading B.S., and then turning around and accelerate their clients' demise, making money on the short side, also.


...oh wait...Abacus (as just one example)...

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