The social networking site, Facebook, has teamed up with cable television network, Comcast, to launch a user-generated television series called 'Facebook Diaries". Kicking-off in late March, Facebook will ask its millions of users to submit videos about their lives through Ziddio.com (Comcast's video sharing website), the best of which, will then be included in ten half-hour episodes that will appear online via Facebook and Ziddio, as well as on Comcast’s video on-demand service. The shows will be produced by Emmy award winning TV producer R.J. Cutler.
It's easy to see how Comcast benefits from the partnership. Prior to the announcement, how many people have heard of Ziddio, the company's YouTube clone? And for Facebook, this seems like a good shot at some much needed monetization. It should certainly be easier to demand higher advertising rates against professionally managed User-Generated video, than it is alongside the normal UGC free-for-all found on Facebook.
Robert Young, writing on GigOM, recently reported on disappointing results for advertisers using the social network:
Word on the street, Madison Avenue that is, is that advertisers who have experimented and bought ads on Facebook are universally disappointed with the results. Consequently, getting these big brands to come back to the table and pony up again with significant ad-buys is going to be very difficult.
One reader, commenting on Young's post, put it even more bluntly:
I advised two clients to place fairly significant (for them) ads on Facebook in 2005 when they were less hyped, but already had a lock on their market.
The results were disastrous. It made me look like an idiot because I had mistakenly assumed that audience + impressions would yield results, the way advertising on more highly focused sites had such as Games sites or Entertainment or Auto media.
The product in both cases was targeted specifically to college students. I could not have asked for a better venue.
After tens of millions of impressions, the clients saw about two dozen clickthroughs and zero conversions.
Facebook is an amazing communications platform. It’s the next level of email/IM/phone/addressbook/dayplanner/etc. But it’s not, in my experience, a viable marketing platform.
They need to figure out some new ways to engage their users with advertisers.
Facebook will hope that "Facebook Diaries" is the start of a more fruitful relationship with advertisers.