It's become a common practice to be on social media when you are watching your favorite prime-time TV series. Now, Facebook is rolling out new tools for broadcasters and TV producers to increase their social interactions with fans during live events or broadcasts.
In a study on the company's Facebook for Business blog, the social network found that 85 percent of people who reported they visit a social network while watching TV said they visited Facebook. So, to enable broadcasters to take advantage of this and further increase fan participation in real-time, Facebook developed new APIs that focus on tracking, polling and overall engagement during live TV shows, news broadcasts, live shows and sports events.
One of the new APIs introduced is an app powered by Telescope, which allows fans to submit photos and video to broadcasters. This tool was used by Fox News producers to gather questions from the GOP debate on Aug. 6, which generated more than 40,000 video submissions through Facebook. This tool can be used for producers to collect questions from Facebook users to reply to on-air or for video submissions for a new show.
Facebook will also give live TV events their own custom icons, such as an Emmy statue icon for the award show or a throne when watching Game of Thrones that users can take advantage of when posting a new status or checking in to an event.
Actors of fan favorite TV series or journalists during morning and evening broadcasts can also connect directly to their fans or viewers using the new "Live for Facebook Mentions" app, which allows them to host Q&As.
There are also new video publishing APIs for broadcasters to utilize for creating clips to share exclusively on the social network.
Another set of tools Facebook is introducing is aimed at letting fans decide. These are voting and poll-focused APIs, such as the new Hashtag Voting API that is connected to a certified third-party provider that allows fans to easily vote for a contestant, say, on The Voice or at the Teen Choice Awards. There is also a new native media polling API specifically for Facebook pages of TV shows, where producers can directly ask audiences questions during the live broadcast and see results in real-time on the broadcast. The posts could include photos and multi-choice responses.
The remaining new APIs focus on curating content. These include a new API that would highlight content from certified public figures, such as entertainment, sports and news personalities on Facebook. There will also be improvements for the display of Facebook trending topics.
Facebook is partnering up with Telescope, Spredfast, Grabyo, Crowdtangle, BumeBox, Reality Check Systems, Vidpresso and WhipClip to integrate these new broadcast APIs.