Twitter and Facebook are trying hard to form a long term relationship with television. Twitter, which has been leading in the second screen space, is now feeling the heat from Facebook. According to Wall Street Journal, Facebook has disclosed plans to provide data about its users’ comments related to major television programs to 10 networks in eight countries, including France, the U.K., Germany, Brazil and India.
The overseas TV partners will be joined by the likes of Stations like TF1 in France, Channel 4 in the U.K., ARD in Germany, Esporte Interativo in Brazil and STAR networks in India. The intention is to show the advertisers the data that TV programs are generating with online buzz and conversations, to influence better pricing and boosting confidence in the social network.
The extension to overseas TV partners happens after Facebook had launched the similar service for US TV networks last month. The initial report that concentrated America’s four largest television networks was made available to ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS, and a small number of select partners. The reports revealed how many “actions” — likes, comments, or shares — a television episode has inspired on Facebook and how many members participated in an action. The data reports tally all posts, including private ones, but Facebook says the data is collected anonymously and will only be shown in aggregate to protect users’ privacy.
Similar reports would be shared by the overseas network partners who are being considered to be valuable. Dan Rose, vice president of partnerships for Facebook, said, “Conversations about popular TV shows are happening between friends, family members, co-workers and neighbours.”
It would be interesting to know how the data would benefit STAR networks. My guess is the channel would be interested in finding about the conversations that has happened or happening over its new TV series – Mahabharat for which it has invested a lot in marketing initiatives prior to the show.
At a time when Twitter is strongly trying to be the second screen in the country where TV dominates the audience minds, Facebook wouldn’t have an easy job. Though the numbers of Facebook in the country might be a positive indication but one can’t ignore Twitter which is inherently a mobile network leading to instant conversations. Besides it has won the battle of hashtags against Facebook which makes tracking of conversation much easier on the network.
The other downside of the Facebook reports are that they are fairly limited for now. They show, for example, that a recent episode of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” generated more than 1 million interactions from some 750 thousand people.
In August 2013, Nielsen had shared in an independent study that TV shows with higher ratings had an impact on what people were tweeting in 48% of the cases. Even more important, chatter on Twitter improved live ratings for TV shows 29% of the time. However, the company has highlighted that the programs that generate the most Twitter activity often aren’t the ones with the highest viewership.
Hence it remains to be seen what impact Facebook creates with these exclusive data reports on advertisers.