Facebook takes on Twitter with social TV features


Michelle Clancy

| 07 October 2015

Social media giant Facebook is introducing new tools and resources for broadcasters, to challenge Twitter for social TV dominance.

The social network said that its research reveals that 85% of people who reported visiting a social network while watching TV said they visited Facebook. Facebook usage peaks in prime time, in every country, and the maximum daily Facebook audience occurs during maximum TV viewing.

Facebook is working with various companies in the market, via its Media Solutions programme.

New features include new apps, powered by Telescope, that allow fans to submit photos and videos to broadcasters. Example use cases include audition videos to potentially join a cast, video questions for reply on-air, and shorts for consideration in film contests. The solution also includes the option for interactive galleries of submissions. Fox News producers used this new tool to solicit questions for the GOP Debate on 6 August, and received more than 40,000 video submissions via Facebook.

It has also added stylised 'icons' to TV shows and sporting events. For example, fans can 'check in' to the 2015 Emmy Awards or the premiere of Game of Thrones, and receive a custom Emmy statue or throne, respectively. For the Fox Teen Choice Awards, viewers could add a surfboard icon on Facebook.

Meanwhile, a broadcast voting resource for Facebook, the Hashtag Voting API and a native media polling product specifically for TV show Facebook pages

On the curation front, Facebook is partnering with Spredfast for broadcast graphics production and an API has launched to provide content from well-known personalities across sports, entertainment, news and politics. The API is available to partners in the Media Solutions programme.

Vizrt has created a set of Facebook and Instagram graphics templates for their broadcast customers as well, to make it easier to produce lower thirds, over the shoulder and full screen displays of content from Facebook and Instagram. Also, Reality Check Systems and Crowdtangle have developed new visualisations for displaying Facebook trending topics within on-set displays.

And finally, it has expanded the Media Solutions Program to include a specialisation in broadcast, with partners Telescope, Spredfast, Grabyo, Crowdtangle, BumeBox, Reality Check Systems, Vidpresso and WhipClip.