Whilst people are talking about how “Social TV” – TV technology that supports social interaction – will be the Next Big Thing (“Everyone says that social television will be big. I think it’s not going to be big — it’s going to be huge” - Ynon Kreiz, CEO of the Endemol Group), an increasing number of movie studios are making ”Social Movies” a reality, right now.

Take, for example, the award-magnet movie Beginners. Universal invites fans to rent the movie directly from the movie’s Facebook page (pay with Facebook or PayPal (50 FB Credits or $5/£3.99)), using a Facebook app from Milyoni that makes use of, and enhances, the social network’s social plumbing; interact with fellow viewers, tag and share favourite moments and participate in movie trivia quizzes.  Prefer world cinema? Then catch Lecciones Para Un Beso (Lessons for a Kiss), one of the first Spanish-language films available for rent on Facebook ($0.99 FB Credits, PayPal or Card).

Will Facebook catch-on as a movie rental platform?  Only, in our view, with a differentiated and compelling value proposition to rival platforms (iTunes, Amazon, Netflix et al).

And that differentiated and compelling value proposition is, in our view, films for fans – offering fan-editions, fan-specials and fan-extras to movie fans. For example, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie will be premiered live on Facebook this Saturday (18 Feb) ($9.99 (Paypal/Credit Card)), the day it hits theatres - featuring live chat with the two main actors during the movie.  You won’t get that at your local multiplex.

Milyoni, the social entertainment software company that makes movie rental and PPV live streaming apps for social media, is betting big on social movies (as are a number of startups - WatchIt, MoviePal, and incumbents - Netflix).  But with Apple sniffing around PPV live streaming and One Infinite Loop’s ever-tighter integration with Twitter, it’s unlikely to be a one-horse race.

Harnessing Facebook as a content delivery channel dedicated to fans could allow Facebook and Milyoni to carve out an own-able niche in the entertainment industry.