Must See Facebook?

For those who haven’t made it to Cannes this week, there’s a big conference there called MIPTV with a lot of focus on TV, social media and new ways to engage audiences.

One speaker was Facebook’s Christian Hernandez Gallardo, Head of International Business Development, and he spoke in particular about how Facebook Places can now be used as a ‘check in’ application for TV shows by highlighting time and place.

Facebook has huge traffic and does see lots of traffic spiking around shows.  But while Facebook Places may provide some functionality and facilitate some communication among friends, its focus as a broad platform may not offer the best user experience.  Show-specific companion apps for example may offer better experiences.

An important point he does raise around connecting with fans off-hours is certainly an area ripe for opportunity.  And the plethora of likes and interests that Facebook has on millions of users also may play into recommendations by either Facebook or others apps that can access such data.

“Where we wanna go with television is creating a social experience,” he said. “The thing I’m dying to make social is the EPG… I’m never gonna make it to channel 235, so how do I discover what I want to be entertained with. What if I could log in to a site, or my set-top box or my TV, and tell the system what I wanna be entertained with?” The idea: a system could use someone’s Facebook data to recommend shows to them.

It will be interesting to follow Facebook’s impact in the expanding social TV sector.


Getting Busy While Watching TV

For all the talk about the intersection of social media and TV, what exactly are TV viewers doing online?  Engaging with the show, conversing with other users or just doing the ‘usual’ Facebook/Twitter dance?

Well, based on some recent studies, it seems to be a bit of the ‘usual.’  eMarketer recently reported what TV viewers are up to when watching.  Whether viewers are on Facebook or Twitter while viewing – which they are – they’re not always engaging in show-driven conversations.

…most chatter on Facebook during TV viewing related to a statement of fact (52%), such as “I’m watching [TV show title here].” Another 22% shared additional information about their current states, such as where they were watching the show, who they were with, or listing all their activities throughout the day. Just 19% were starting conversations about the show itself, and 7% were announcing they were either bored or in bed—or both.

While this may indicate the typical multi-tasking and/or lack of attention span, particularly among the younger demographics, another reason may be in play.  While Facebook and Twitter are certainly predominantly used in such circumstances, are they necessarily the best channel?  Or is there a huge opportunity for TV shows and third parties to develop richer, highly engaging, interactive ‘second screen’ environments, where users want to participate more fully.