With Netflix’s subscription cost increases apparently pricing it outside of some people’s budget, the BBC must be hoping that more audiences plan to move their online viewing to Facebook.
Following Warner Bros.’ trials with renting movies through the social network, BBC Worldwide today begins offering episodes of Doctor Who for 48 hour Facebook rental in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Starting today, digitally remastered episodes from the original long-running show will be available for fans with enough Facebook Credits to spare, including one storyline – “The Greatest Show in The Galaxy” – that has never been released on DVD.
According to BBC Worldwide Chief Executive John Smith (no relation to the John Smith the Doctor has used as an alternate identity on multiple occasions), the move comes in response to fans of the show’s current incarnation using the show’s official Facebook fan page to ask where they should start with older episodes:
“As we have grown internationally, we’ve seen through our Facebook channel that fans who are loving the new series are asking for a guide into our rich Doctor Who back catalogue… We see this service as a perfect way to give our fans what they want, as well as a great way for them to get their fix between now and late summer when Series Six continues.”
Of course, when new fans see the level of production quality in the older episodes, they might just decide to wait until September for the new episodes anyway. There’s a good reason why “The Greatest Show in The Galaxy” isn’t on DVD yet, take it from someone who watched it the first time around.
The episodes are available for rental now at Facebook.com/DoctorWho.
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.