A content war is looming in Australia, that could result in local content services such as Foxtel, Telstra T Box, BigPond Movies and services like Fetch TV & Quickflix, being bypassed by global content producers in favour of new content services from Facebook, Apple and Google who are moving to turn YouTube into a global content port for TV shows and first run movies.Last night Warner Brothers became the first major media company to offer a movie for rent on Facebook. On Monday, Google said that it had acquired Next New Networks, a move that could position the search company to become a force in the digital distribution of movies, rivaling services like Netflix and iTunes.
Meanwhile Apple is looking to expand the amount of International content that is available in Australia.
In their press statement Warner said that it would allow Facebook users to rent the film “The Dark Knight” directly on the social networking site, and pay for it using Facebook credits.
The fact that Warner has moved to use Facebook credits could create a rival to PayPal and other payment systems, claim observers.
JB Hi Fi boss Terry Smart, who is the biggest seller of iTunes cards in Australia, said that he would “willingly” sell Facebook credit cards and that he welcomes the service.
Warner said it will make other titles available on Facebook over time.
In the USA shares in Netflix, the US content distribution company, who are looking to move into Australia dropped 5 percent.
A big benefit to Australians is that most major TV companies including Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony already offer accesss to YouTube and Facebook on their new TVs that have an Internet connection.
Currently, Hollywood is having to manage plummeting DVD sales and piracy which in Australia is allegedly costing the industry $4 Billion dollars a year in lost sales. To move quickly, in being able to deliver content over an IP networking using large US networks like Google, Apple and Facebook could give the industry the kick along it needs.
Researchers at DisplaySearch have said that if Hollywood embraces IPTV delivery systems that TV manufacturers will see a “big lift” in demand for large screen TVs with IP capability.
They said that nearly all LCD TV panel makers are focusing on edge-type LED backlight TV panels and IP enabled TVs above 40 inches.
Warner have admitted that if the Facebook experiment works and they can reach a consumer without doing business with a “middle man” like Telstra or Foxtel that most major Hollywood studios will adopt the same go to market method.
At Google, executives are looking to attract content creators, as well as being a global portal for the delivery of movie and TV content. The move could benefit Australian content creators making movies and TV shows as it will give them a global audience without having to go to a third party distributor.
The acquisition of Next New Networks is YouTube’s first step into content creation. The company already positions themselves as a member of the YouTube family and have produced viral hits such as “Bed Intruder” and “Double Rainbow,” and in November 2010 launched “The One”.
Since launching in March 2007, the Next New Networks team has built a highly effective platform for developing, packaging, and building audiences around original Web video programming, attracting over 2 billion views and 6 million subscribers across their partner networks of channels and shows,” wrote Tom Pickett, director of global content operations and YouTube Next, in a recent company blog.
The New York Times said that YouTube Next is a new team designed to boost the Web site’s creator development and speed partner growth and success. The group also will head a series of YouTube Next branded programs and services built off previous partner development initiatives, such as the Partner Grants Program and a program that gave 500 partners $1,000 credits toward new camera equipment at B&H Photo, said Pickett in the blog.