If you remember Fox's attempt to integrate TV show content and social media, from a broadcaster perspective, you'll probably be having flashbacks that're filled with ick and horror. It was disastrous. But that doesn't mean a blend of the two types of broadcasting system isn't a good idea—there's a lot that can be gained from a good social media-TV relationship. And ready to take up the baton, here comes the U.K.'s Channel Five network.
Channel Five, which is the U.K.'s newest and last terrestrial broadcast, ad-supported national channel (launched in 1997), has revealed it'll be broadcasting its TV shows as a kind of "watch again" system inside an online media player. Nothing new there, except that the "Demand Five" player will be embedded inside Facebook, making it what NewMediaAge deems the first broadcaster to try this experiment.
The new system will only be accessible to U.K. audiences, somewhat similarly to the BBC's geo-locked iPlayer initiative—though the BBC's complex public entity status precludes it from international transmission, so we're not sure exactly why Five is geo-locked, too. The company is reportedly talking with Facebook to keep a role in ad-sales negotiations, so that it can make sure there's enough revenue coming in, and that the ads are compliant with the kind of public image Five would prefer to project—much as it undoubtedly manages its own over-the-air ad sales matters.
It's obvious what Facebook gets from the deal: More users will spend longer logged into its website in order to ogle Channel Five's offering of soaps, re-transmitted U.S. comedies, and soft core porn (well ... I jest, but check into the company's history and you'll see what I mean). That means potentially increased ad revenues for Facebook.
But what does Five gain from this, other than a reduced requirement to maintain and promote its own online rebroadcasting system? It's the social angle. Imagine posting a status update about the Five show you're watching, with a link back to Demand Five's page—it'll definitely drive more traffic to the Five page, and that'll promote more ad sales. Be prepared (if you're a Brit) to see more TV-related chatter in your Facebook stream. And if the experiment is a success, which it's likely to be, then expect TV channels everywhere to quickly get in on the act. Whether you think that's a good thing or not, is up to you.
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