By Bob Morgan, Partner Engineering Director
Whether it’s a live talent contest or dating show, a television news special or the weekend’s big game, TV viewers are connecting on Facebook during their favorite broadcast programs. We highlighted one relevant study on our Facebook for Business blog which found that 85% of people who reported visiting a social network while watching TV said they visited Facebook. Our own researchers discovered that Facebook usage peaks in primetime, in every country, and that the maximum daily Facebook audience occurs during maximum TV viewing.
With all of this in mind, we want to enable broadcasters to create great experiences for their viewers around the programming they love, drive real-time participation and engage their audiences 24/7. So today we’re introducing a new set of tools and resources – and some improvements to existing products – to help broadcasters more deeply engage fans around the programming that matters most to them and the content they love to share with friends.
We’re working with leading companies in the market, via our Media Solutions program, to more fully realize these options for broadcasters. The resources fall into three key areas:
- Engage: Invite fans to contribute content to participate in programming. And stay in touch with your audience regularly with publishing to show and talent Facebook Pages.
- Decide: Polling and voting solutions to understand audience sentiment at any given moment or determine the outcome of contests.
- Display: More easily curate photos, videos and posts new resources for displaying content in broadcast graphics.
Tools and Resources Overview
- Media Submission and Galleries (NEW!): New apps, powered by Telescope, 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 August 6, and received more than 40,000 video submissions via Facebook:
- Custom Icons (NEW!): Every day, people on Facebook share what they’re doing — from watching TV shows, attending a sporting event, or sitting in a movie theater. We’re adding stylized “icons” to TV shows and sporting events, providing a lightweight, delightful way for people to share what they’re watching. For example, fans could “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:
- Comments to Air: Posing questions on a show’s Facebook page is a great way to invite the audience to participate in programming. When fans respond with comments, curation and graphics production from Facebook is easy with Media Solutions partners including Spredfast and Vidpresso.
- Video Publishing: Broadcasters are seeing great success getting fans excited about shows by publishing clips to Facebook. At F8 this year, we announced a range of new video publishing APIs. Grabyo and WhipClip are Media Solutions partners taking different, but compelling approaches to help broadcasters promote their programming on Facebook with great products for creating clips from linear broadcast for publishing to Facebook.
- Tools for Talent: One of the most effective ways to engage fans for a show is through the cast. Talent can more easily connect with fans through Mentions, including the new Live for Facebook Mentions feature. And they can host large-scale Q&As to connect directly with fans easily with tools like BumeBox.
- Voting (NEW!): Today we’re announcing a new broadcast voting resource for Facebook, the Hashtag Voting API. This API connects to certified 3rd party providers for contest and award shows to allow for voting via hashtag in Facebook posts or comments. Telescope is the first company to adopt this API and deliver the first such voting solutions on Facebook, like the Fox Teen Choice Awards. In addition, Telescope also provides popular voting apps with Facebook login used by many of the largest contest shows on TV.
- Polling (NEW!): We’re also announcing the availability of a new native media polling product specifically for TV show Facebook pages. The product is designed to allow producers to ask audiences questions on their page with a real-time API to present results on broadcast. The post includes a photo and a multiple-choice response. This is a great feature for inviting the audience to weigh in on timely topics whether it be reactions to sports, breaking news or celebrities. Pac-12 Conference has been using this feature regularly this season:
- Curation: One of the most popular ways to integrate Facebook and Instagram into broadcasts is through content curation. Spredfast is a leading partner in this space for curation and broadcast graphics production and have adopted the latest Facebook Media APIs available for broadcasters.
- Public Figures API: We’re introducing a new resource for more easily surfacing public content from verified public figures on Facebook and Instagram. The API is structured to provide content from well known personalities across sports, entertainment, news and politics. The API is available to partners in the Media Solutions program.
- Graphics: Vizrt has created a comprehensive new set of Facebook and Instagram graphics templates for their broadcast customers. This makes it easier than ever 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 visualizations for displaying Facebook trending topics within on-set displays.
In addition, last year we announced the Media Solutions Program to better serve the strong ecosystem of partners using our media APIs. These partners help media companies in a variety of ways with great tools and platforms. Today, we’re extending this program to include a specialization in Broadcast. This track will include partners that deliver solutions in the use cases named above and more as they innovate around programming. We’re excited to welcome the following partners to this specialization: Telescope, Spredfast, Grabyo, Crowdtangle, BumeBox, Reality Check Systems, Vidpresso and WhipClip.
We’ve also developed new documentation around best practices for all of the use cases noted above. If you’re interested to learn more about any of these resources, please contact your Facebook partner manager or email us at email@example.com.