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Warner to offer films directly on Facebook

Netflix and Hulu have some new competition: Facebook. Dark-knight

Warner Bros. has announced a new program that will let users of the popular social networking stream the studio’s films online. Initially, only “The Dark Knight” will be available, but Warner says it plans to quickly ramp up the program in 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.”

Buyers will be able to watch the film through their Facebook account for up to 48 hours from purchase. The cost per rental is 30 Facebook credits – or $3 real-world cash.

Films can be viewed in full-screen and watched in segments (with the film resuming where left off the next time user log in). Users can also use other Facebook features while watching the film, such as posting comments or status updates.

Warner’s announcement is another competitor Netflix faces as the streaming marketplace continues to grow. Recently Amazon.com began offering free streaming of films and television shows to subscribers to its Amazon Prime service.