All TV viewing will be social in the future, according to Facebook’s MD and VP of EMEA Joanna Shields.

Speaking at this morning’s keynote at the IBC conference in Amsterdam, Shields laid out the social network’s vision of continuing to forge content partnerships with content creators and broadcasters as a way of evolving the social TV experience and driving diversity of revenue streams for both sides.

She said Facebook’s aim is to “complement” and “enhance” the TV viewing experience and help broadcasters extend their reach, rather than cannibalise their content.

“We’re not in the business of creating content, that’s not what we’re about, so we would never be a threat to broadcasters,” she said. “We want to facilitate ways content creators can extend both their reach and how they monetise content.”

By using Facebook’s Credits payment system around particular shows, broadcasters can increase their revenues, according to Shields. Production house Endemol’s reality entertainment show Big Brother, which has already launched a voting service using Facebook’s voting system in Germany, has seen a 10% uplift in how many people vote as a result of Facebook Credits, according to Shields.

“We’re now really looking forward to launching this in other markets,” she added.

The UK is next in line, with Channel 5 pursuing the same model for the same show, expected to launch imminently.

Shields said the live streaming of US President Barack Obama’s inauguration marked the beginning for Facebook’s TV strategy, which has since seen it form tie-ups with BBC Worldwide to rent episodes of Doctor Who and Top Gear via its Credits payment system, as well as film studio Warner Bros.

“I truly believe all TV will be social in the future,” said Shields. “We want to partner with the TV industry to unlock the potential of our 750m global users.”

Her comments come two weeks after Google made a similar bid when chairman Eric Schmidt addressed delegates of the Edinburgh International TV festival. During his MacTaggart address, he appealed to the TV industry to collaborate ahead of its UK roll-out of web-TV service Google TV ( 26 August 2011).

Shields said she welcomed healthy competition from the likes of Google, which has launched its own social network Google+, and is also primed to tap into the UK TV industry.

“It’s a good thing that there’s competition as it’s recognition that social is so important,” she said. “Every company needs a challenger so competition is good.”


Published 9 September, 2011 by NMA Staff

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