STAR India and Discovery Networks are among the media networks that will be given more access to user information on Facebook, including data about user comments, the social network announced at MIPCOM yesterday. The access to data will allow networks to showcase real-time information on TV, and showcase to advertisers that their TV programming is generating online engagement. The premise is that the additional level of engagement will help improve advertising rates on TV.
Other network partners announcement yesterday include ARD, ZDF & ProSiebenSat.1 (in Germany), Channel 4 (in the UK) and Danish Television, EsporteIntertivo (in Brazil) and CBC in Canada. For STAR, this is particularly important since it has the broadcast and digital rights to what the events that the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) is organizing, and sports, from what we’ve seen, leads to a significant number of conversations on Twitter.
This is an extension of an initiative Facebook launched last month with US TV Networks, including CNN, NBC’s Today Show, BSkyB, among others, and included two key tools: Public Feed API and Keyword Insights API. The Public Feed API displays a real-time feed of public posts for a specific word, while the Keyword Insights API aggregates the total number of posts that mention a specific term in a given time frame, including anonymous, aggregated results based on gender, age and location.
The idea behind this is to encourage TV organizations to integrate their shows with Facebook, and display real-time activity on any given topic. Essentially, Facebook is trying to replicate the integration that Twitter has achieved with TV networks – as we’ve mentioned, Twitter India, under Rishi Jaitly, has been aggressively pitching for TV integration. Up until now, Facebook has allowed the posting of public posts on TV, but data has previously not been available.
Given that elections are due next month, and Twitter, in particular has become a hub for political activity, we expect Facebook to roll out this service to other TV networks.
The Difference Between Facebook and Twitter
Of course, the difference between Facebook and Twitter, is that Facebook allows demographic segmentation of the user base, which Twitter, due to the anonymity of its user base, does not have. This means that TV channels, by virtue of integrating Facebook, will be able to indicate to advertisers, the engagement it generated, segmented by age, gender and location.
What Facebook lacks, perhaps, is the ability for commentary to go viral beyond a users group of friends, something which Twitter has done well with trending topics. Eventually, Facebook will have to figure out a way of integrating trending topics, if it wants to help News channels, in particular, discover what’s working.